Expert planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore has strengthened its Newcastle office with three appointments.

Senior planners Richard Swann and Musa Choudhary, and graduate planner Kieran Blaydes join the city centre-based team that works with a wide range of housebuilders, businesses, energy and infrastructure providers across the North East.

Richard, who joined from Cundall, brings with him significant experience of planning residential and mixed use schemes – including high profile projects such as The Malings development in Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley and the 750-unit residential scheme at Chapelgarth, Sunderland.

At Barton Willmore he will lead Local Plan representations for Bellway, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon, and work with the likes of the University of Sunderland, Northumberland Estates and Home Group on planning applications.

Richard said: “Barton Willmore’s expertise helps lead the North East’s development across housing, commercial projects and infrastructure.

“I’m thrilled to join such a passionate and respected team.”

Musa Choudhary joins Barton Willmore from Leeds-based RSK ADAS and has spent several years working in the Middle East for architecture-led planning practice, BDP and Aecom.

He worked on the Kuwait Commercial Land Use Study and set out a policy framework for the next Kuwait Plan as well as masterplans in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Before that he worked for local authorities in the North East and has significant experience energy sector planning.

Musa said: “I’m looking forward to bringing my skills and experience in residential, energy sector and employment land planning to bear at Barton Willmore.

“Being back in the North East is particularly exciting at this time when the region has so many opportunities.”

Meanwhile Kieran Blaydes – a graduate of Newcastle University – joins the consultancy having completed a year in industry at ELG Planning.

James Hall, partner at Barton Willmore, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve continued to strengthen the team in Newcastle.

“Richard and Musa both bring with them a great knowledge of the region and fantastic experience in handling the kind of complex planning challenges that Barton Willmore specialises in.

“We’re committed to developing the next generation of planners, and Kieran’s appointment is evidence of that.

“As Barton Willmore continues to grow its client base we’re delivering a wealth of exciting projects that show the North East is buoyant and growing.

“With planning director Stuart Natkus and I, the new additions make our team even stronger.”