Ainscough Strategic Land has taken on former GVA director John Brooks.
He joins the Leigh-based team as planning director from GVA's Manchester office.
He will have responsibility for planning strategy and consent delivery across ASL's 700-acre nationwide portfolio of brown and greenfield sites as well as with site identification and acquisition.
Brooks said: "It's still a challenging market but there are big opportunities for companies like ASL which have the liquidity to act decisively.
"The core of ASL's business is adding value to sites through planning and I'm excited to be joining such a dedicated, well-resourced team and contributing to their ongoing success."
Paul Martin, Ainscough's land director, said: "With momentum gathering at many of our sites and with a plentiful supply of new opportunities, the time is right to grow the team and invest in our planning expertise. We've had first-hand experience of John's skills and we're thrilled to have him on-board.
"The Localism Bill represents an opportunity for property businesses that are already using community consultation wisely. While the national planning picture is still relatively unclear, local authorities and their communities are looking for a thoughtful and collaborative approach to development. That's where our skills lie and John's appointment is an excellent addition to this."
In July, ASL made its largest land acquisition to date, securing a 180-acre site in Durham. It also has planning permission for 158 homes at a 17-acre former Nestle factory site in Cuddington, Cheshire. Taylor Wimpey has been lined up to build the houses.
ASL was set up in 2007 by Martin Ainscough following the sale in the same year of his eponymous crane hire business for £255m.