Neil Lucas, Richard Barton, AshtonHale, p AshtonHale

Neil Lucas (left) and Richard Barton have retained some large projects. Credit: via AshtonHale

Ex-AY partners team up to form AshtonHale

Richard Barton and Neil Lucas have set up the planning consultancy after leaving Avison Young earlier this year. 

Despite only being in its infancy, AshtonHale is off to a flying start having retained several clients and their large projects, both in city locations and further afield. 

These include Bankfoot APAM’s £200m Soapworks expansion in Salford and plans for a £450m life sciences and PBSA development on Manchester’s Upper Brook Street. 

Lucas will lead on the urban development projects, while Barton’s work will be focussed on large strategic sites including Broadbent Moss in Oldham for Grasscroft, Casey, and Wain Homes and Land South of Hyde in Tameside for Bluemantle.

In total, AshtonHale’s pipeline comprises more than 5,000 homes, 2,000 student beds, and more than 1m sq ft of commercial floorspace.  

“Over many years we have been lucky to have built up a loyal set of clients and friends across the property industry in the North West and further afield,” Barton and Lucas told Place North West. 

“We are incredibly pleased that many have chosen to follow us to AshtonHale.” 

Soapworks expansion, GMPF, p Lexington

Bankfoot APAM’s Soapworks is one of the projects Barton and Lucas have retained. Credit: via Lexington

They added: “Our focus will remain on promoting and delivering commercially attractive planning outcomes for both public and private sector clients across a range of brownfield and greenfield projects in city centres, Greater Manchester, the North West, and further afield.”  

The pair’s motivation for leaving Avison Young was a desire to rid themselves of the “distractions” that come with working for a larger company. 

“We feel there is an opportunity now with AshtonHale to provide a bespoke and independent consultancy, where our sole focus is on providing the best service to clients, without the distractions of being within a larger organisation,” they said. 

Barton was among several members of Avison Young’s planning team to depart this spring in pursuit of something new. 

Richard Woodford and director Conor Vallelly have also set up their own businesses, while Louisa Fielden has joined forces with Barton and Lucas at AshtonHale. 

Barton departed the firm after almost 17 years, the first 12 with HOW Planning and the latter five with Avison Young, which acquired HOW in 2019. 

Lucas joined Avison Young in 2017, working his way up to the role of principal before following his fellow planners out of the company this summer. 

Your Comments

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Good luck to them all. The number of good people who have left AY Manchester over the past 18 months or so is truly astonishing. Nothing to see here though….

By Planner

I assume they both live near those two places to create the brand. But which Ashton, Richard?

By Bob

Best of luck both and sounds like you’ve had a great start!

By Steve Renshaw

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