Project: Cockenzie Masterplan
Credit: Whatmore Urban Design & Architecture


Masterplan for the Redevelopment of the Former Cockenzie Power Station in East Lothian, Scotland

Stefano Smith led a multidisciplinary team comprising PBA, Whatmore Urban Design & Architecture and Kevin Murray Associates assisting East Lothian Council in the development of a strategic masterplan for the redevelopment of the former Cockenzie Power Station site. Cockenzie Power Station ceased operation in March 2013 and the site remained dormant until its structures were safely demolished in 2014. The site, and the area of land covered by the masterplan, is approximately 80 hectares. The masterplan creates a vision for the redevelopment of the area, with a wide range of future opportunities set to be explored. The Project Team was tasked with identifying which options will deliver the greatest economic and social impact, and create an environment and opportunities that support a flourishing economy. We developed proposals and tested them with the community and other key stakeholders before putting together a final report for submission to the Council. Each proposal combined an energy plant with tourist attractions, business, retail and industry, in different ratios and using different parts of the site. The site sits in the ‘East Lothian Coastal Corridor’ allowing the creation of a sustainable, connected and low carbon development that fits sensitively within the environment. The site is well connected to the national grid, a rail head and a pier, and its proximity to exiting residential communities (including the new, emerging Blindwells settlement) provides the chance to build a new, wider community where residents can live, work and play. The strategic location of the site also means that it is a development capable of competing internationally in terms of scale, quality and location. By creating the right framework for the future redevelopment of the area, we expect that an environment can be created that will secure commitments from major inward investors in the coming years.

Nigg Development Master Plan, The Highland Council

Preparation of Development Master Plan to provide a framework for development over 15 years. The master plan accommodates facilities for a multi-user facility comprising industrial and renewable activities. Consideration given to market sector review and appraisal, engineering assessment to determine capacity of the site and a master plan. Nigg Energy Park is now owned by Global Energy Group. Global have invested some £50 million since taking ownership of the Nigg yard back in 2011 where they embarked upon developing and improving facilities, including new South Quay development and the additional deep water quayside space which was completed in 2015. It has become an important hub for both the Oil and Gas and Offshore Renewables markets.

Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh – Master Plan

Preparation of master plan to guide future development at the University’s Riccarton Campus in Edinburgh over 10 years (2000-2010) and beyond. The University is one of the country’s leading teaching and research universities. The City of Edinburgh Council formally adopted the masterplan as Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG). Pre-Inquiry Modifications to the Rural West Edinburgh Local Plan were agreed with the Council to facilitate and enable the long-term development aspirations of the University.

Project: Burdiehouse (Edinburgh) Residential Development
Credit: EMA Architects


Residential development at Burdiehouse (Edinburgh) – Major EIA PPiP Planning Application, Hallam Land

Management Ltd Project Director in the preparation and submission of a Major Planning Permission in Principle (PPiP) Planning Application for housing development of up to 140 units to the south of Edinburgh at Burdiehouse (Phase 3). The site was removed from the Edinburgh Green Belt and included in the City of Edinburgh urban settlement following the Edinburgh Local Development Plan Inquiry. The site forms Phase 3 of a larger housing development that was in the green belt that was successfully promoted through the development plan and subsequently approved for planning permission. Due to the sensitivity of the location of Phase 3, a screening request was prepared using the Scottish Government EIA Screening Template. The Council’s screening opinion concluded that an Environmental Impact Assessment would need to be undertaken. A rigorous desk based Scoping Report sought to narrow the scope of the Environmental Statement (ES) and focus specifically on those environmental issues that would have a significant impact upon the environment. The Council agreed a narrow scope focussing on four issues, namely LVIA, cultural heritage, ground conditions and air quality. The Major EIA PPiP Planning Application was submitted to the Council in November 2016.


West Riverside at Loch Lomond, Flamingo Land Ltd

Planning Discipline Lead & Specialist Advisor for this proposed tourism and leisure led mixed use development within Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. Stefano provided advice on planning strategy and led on planning application negotiations.

Saint Gobain Flatglass Production Plant, UK


Land at Rawcliffe Road, Goole, St John’s College, Cambridge and Saint Gobain Glass UK Ltd

Master planning of a major industrial and business park (250 acres) on behalf of St John’s College, Cambridge and the Global Group plc adjacent to the M62 (junction 36). Allocation pursued through the Boothferry Borough Local Plan – preparation of evidence. Preparation and submission of outline planning application, including Environmental Assessment. Floatglass Plant in Yorkshire and Humberside. Advising major foreign inward investor in £60million floatglass plant investment. Project managing Saint Gobain Glass UK Ltd., Environmental Impact Assessment involving liaison with local planning authority and statutory consultees. Preparation, submission and successful negotiation of detailed planning application accompanied by Environmental Statement. Advice on planning conditions and legal agreements. The site is now developed and operational.

Infrastructure Delivery & Funding

Infrastructure Levy Research Project, Scottish Government

Project Director leading multi-disciplinary team examining the potential for developing Scotland’s infrastructure funding mechanism and informing a Government White Paper in the wake of the 2016 Planning Review and the subsequent Planning Bill. Stefano was the lead client interface and stakeholder manager and Technical Planning Lead in reviewing the Stages 1 to 3 deliverables. This included examining best practice amongst planning authorities in a regional and international context and formulating ‘key questions’ in developing consensus among stakeholders. Development process and mechanism of an infrastructure charging mechanism – infrastructure levy.


Kyle Wind farm, Ayrshire

Project Manager to review and advise on the Environmental Impact Assessment prepared in support of a 150 turbine wind farm proposal in Ayrshire.

Sheraton Hill Wind Farm

Work Package Manager for Planning and Environmental matters associated with pursuing an Environmental Report to support planning application for 3 wind turbines at Sheraton Hill in the District of Easington.

Haswell Moor Wind Farm

Work Package Manager for Planning and Environmental matters associated with pursuing an EIA application for 5 wind turbines at Haswell Moor in the District of Easington, including application for temporary meteorological mast.

Project: Burdiehouse (Edinburgh) Residential Development
Credit: EMA Architects

Expert Witness

Land at Burdiehouse, Master Plan & Local Plan Inquiry, Hallam Land Management Ltd

Project Director for commission to promote 400 unit residential development at Burdiehouse, south Edinburgh through the Edinburgh City Local Plan and subsequent Inquiry. Preparation of master plan promoting sustainable community based on up-to- date place-making principles. Expert planning witness at Local Plan Inquiry successfully persuading reporters to recommend green belt release and allocation for residential development.

Highways Agency De-trunking Inquiry

Expert Planning Witness on behalf of the Highways Agency in the first De-trunking Public Inquiry in the UK. The governing provision in legislation is section 10(2) of the Highways Act 1980. Evidence was presented on local and national planning, including the requirements of agriculture, to demonstrate the expediency of reorganising the trunk road system and de- trunking the Order routes. The main evidence addressed the effect of de-trunking on the regeneration of West Cumbria, as well as on tourism. The Inquiry was successful.

Planning Appeal at Cellardyke, Fife

Expert planning witness on behalf of Fife Council against a housing development in Cellardyke. Appeal against the Council’s refusal of a detailed application where outline planning permission for residential development approved, and officer recommendation to approve detailed application subject to conditions and legal agreement. The Members went against officer recommendation and the Chairperson of the Planning Committee also appeared as a witness at the Inquiry. Political astuteness required to balance the nature of the development against the political aspirations for the site. The appeal was dismissed and the Council was ratified in their decision.