Volterra provide expert witness at Kent planning inquiry

Ellie EvansVolterra partner Ellie Evans was recently an expert witness at a planning inquiry into the Gallagher Group’s proposals to create an industrial and warehouse development, Waterside Park, at Junction 8 of the M20 in Maidstone, Kent. Ellie’s evidence on the economic benefits of the scheme – which had previously been refused planning permission by Maidstone Borough Council and was therefore the subject of an appeal – was unchallenged by any of the opposing parties. Ellie’s evidence showed that the borough had underestimated demand for industrial land and over-estimated the availability and suitability of alternative sites for development. She expressed her opinion, supported by previous analysis commissioned by the borough council, that there is both a qualitative and quantitative need for additional employment land within the borough of Maidstone, and expressed concern that without this capacity economic growth would be hindered and the borough would continue to fall behind the wider region.  The inquiry has been in the news again this week due to the controversial announcement that Maidstone Council have now adopted a new Economic Development Strategy which specifies the need to allocate the land at Junction 8 for employment use ahead of the planning inspector’s decision, thereby seemingly contradicting their arguments against the development. Read news coverage of the inquiry here and this week’s developments here.

Share this post



e: aobyrne@volterra.co.uk
t: +44 020 8878 6333

Alex O’Byrne, Associate at Volterra, is an experienced economic consultant specialising in economic, health and social impact, economic strategy, project appraisal and socio-economic planning matters.

Alex has led the socio-economic and health assessments of some of the most high profile developments across the UK, including Battersea Power Station, Olympia London, London Resort, MSG Sphere and Westfield. He has significant experience inputting to EIAs and s106 discussions as well as drafting economic statements, employment and skills strategies and affordable workspace strategies.

Alex is also experienced at economic appraisal for infrastructure. He was project manager of the economic appraisal for the City Centre to Mangere Light Rail in Auckland. He also led the economic and financial appraisals of the third tranche of the Transport Access Program for Transport for New South Wales, in which Alex developed and employed innovative methodological approaches to better capture benefits for individuals with reduced mobility.

He is interested in the limitations of current appraisal methodologies and ways of improving economic and health analysis to ensure it is accessible to as many people as possible. To this end, Alex recognises the importance of transparent and simple to understand analysis and ensuring all work is supported by a robust narrative.

Alex holds a BSc (Hons) in Economics from the University of Manchester and he was a member of the first cohort of the Mayor’s Infrastructure Young Professionals Panel.


Senior Partner

e: eevans@volterra.co.uk
t: +44 020 8878 6333

Ellie is a partner at Volterra, specialising in the economic impact of developments and proposals, and manages many of the company’s projects on economic impact, regeneration, transport and development.

With thirteen years experience at Volterra delivering high quality projects to clients across the public and private sector, Ellie has expertise in developing methods of estimating economic impact where complex issues exist with regards to deadweight, displacement and additionality.

Ellie has significant experience in estimating the economic impact across all types of property development including residential, leisure, office and mixed use schemes.

Project management of recent high profile schemes include the luxury hotel London Peninsula, Battersea Power Station and the Nova scheme at London Victoria. Ellie has also led studies across the country estimating the economic and regeneration impact of proposed transport investments, including studies on HS2 and Crossrail.

Ellie holds a degree in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Cambridge.