Meet the Team


James Whilding

Rural Planning Director | MRICS FBIAC
James is Managing Director and Marketing Director and responsible for the Western region office.

A qualified Chartered Surveyor (RICS) and Fellow of the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants (BIAC), James specialises in planning and business consultancy including work relating to agricultural dwellings, asset maximisation and diversification and is a lead consultant for our intensive agriculture (pigs and poultry) work.

James is also a lead contact for the NFU and CLA.

Mike Bamforth

Rural Design Director | MCIOB
Mike is Operations Director (HR and IT) with Acorus and takes responsibility for the National Building Design Team and the Anglia and South East office.

Mike is a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Building and is highly experienced in rural design projects, housing and diversification projects; in particular the conversion of traditional farm buildings into residential, tourism and commercial uses.

Anthony Atkinson

Rural Planning Director | MRICS, FAAV
Anthony is Finance Director and Company Secretary of Acorus and takes responsibility for projects in the North & Midlands.

He has numerous years of experience in planning consultancy for agricultural development and farm diversification schemes. He has extensive knowledge of the complex processes involved from initial planning investigations, building and design requirements through to the submission of detailed planning applications. Anthony also undertakes property sales and estate management.

Anthony holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Land Management from Harper Adams Agricultural College, he is a professional member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Fellow of the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV).


Laura Wall

Rural Planning Associate |MRICS MBIAC
Laura graduated from Harper Adams University College in 2007 with a BSc (Hons) degree in Rural Enterprise and Land Management.  Since joining Acorus she has worked within the rural planning team and progressed to becoming an Associate within the company.

As a Rural Chartered Surveyor, Laura specialises in planning and appeals consultancy, including work relating to agricultural/rural worker dwellings, conversions, change of use, diversification, occupancy conditions, certificates of lawful use and equine work.

Henry Doble

Rural Planning Associate | MRICS
After graduating from the Royal Agricultural College (University) in 2011, with a BSc(Hons) degree in Rural Land Management, Henry joined Acorus in the rural planning team contributing to all aspects of the planning work in the East and South East Region.

Having qualified as a Rural Chartered Surveyor, Henry’s areas of work include advice relating to rural planning in general with specific examples being: new farm dwellings and buildings, lifting of agricultural occupancy conditions, Certificates of Lawful Use and permitted development, together with planning appeals.


Angus Bridges

Graduate Rural Planner | BSc (Hons)
After graduating from the Royal Agricultural University in 2020, with a BSc(Hons) degree in Rural Land Management, Angus joined Acorus East and South East rural planning team contributing to all aspects of planning work.

Angus is currently working towards gaining his RICS qualification.

Brian Barrow

Rural Planning | MRICS
Brian is responsible for the Central and East team.

A qualified Chartered Surveyor (RICS), Brian specialises in planning consultancy and handles planning appeals, agricultural occupancy conditions, intensive livestock developments and equine related work. His work also includes the preparation of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs).

Brian leads the property sales work within Acorus and advises clients on how to maximise their property value prior to marketing and sale.

Debbie Locke

Rural Design Graduate | BA (Hons)
Debbie works within the South West office as a member of the design team, having graduated from Arts University Bournemouth in 2017 with a BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design.

Since her graduation, she has been involved with designing and drawing up a wide range of rural properties.

She grew up in the Devonshire countryside and looks forward to developing her knowledge and helping the team.

Emma Baker

Rural Design | BA (Hons)
Emma works within the South East office as a member of the drawing and design team, having graduated from Oxford school of Architecture (OBU) in 2018 with a BA (Hons) in Interior Architecture.

Since her graduation, she has been involved with designing and drawing up a wide range of rural properties, new houses and subdivisions in 2D and 3D.

She grew up in the Suffolk countryside on an arable working farm. Emma looks forward to developing her knowledge on planning and design while helping the team.

Helen Hobbs-Burt

Rural Design | BA (Hons) Dip Arch RIBA
Helen is a Chartered Architect with over ten years’ experience of multiple sectors and practices ranging from London to Brighton and now enjoying the beautiful South West landscape, designing a wide range of rural countryside properties as a senior design team member

Her primary interest is in well-designed buildings with an emphasis on sustainability.

Ian Hopkins

Rural Design
Ian has over 25 years' experience in varying sizes of Architectural practices within the Midlands and the South West, and is currently based at our Exeter Office as Senior Architectural Technician.

He has experience in projects ranging from one off houses to factory units and all types of buildings in between, preparing drawings from Planning through to Building Regulations and then onto construction on site.

Julie Milne

Julie is a highly experienced finance systems administrator. 

Leanne Jeffreys

Project Manager
Leanne manages all our regional properties subject to agricultural occupancy conditions and deals with the submission of planning applications. Where appropriate, she liaises closely with Acorus consultants and monitoring the progress of projects.

She also handles all our national properties and is responsible for their marketing and sales.

She assists the Sales & Marketing Director with managing the company’s marketing plan, particularly advertising.

Additionally, she manages the office and is responsible for the regional Key Account contracts and Local Authority contracts.

Louise Gregory

Rural Planning
Louise works out of the Bury St Edmunds office and handles planning applications, planning appeals, certificates of lawfulness and GPDO 28 day notices for Acorus clients.

Louise also manages Environmental Impact Assessments and Agricultural Occupancy Conditions and has a solid knowledge base of all planning matters.

With several years' service at Acorus both as a Rural Planning Consultant and a Project Manager, Louise has extensive knowledge of the business, its clients and dealing with local and national authorities.

Megan Masters

Rural Planning | BSc (Hons) MRICS
Megan is a Chartered Rural Surveyor based within the South West team providing advice to clients relating to all aspects of rural planning. Having obtained a degree in BSc (Hons) Real Estate at the University of Reading in 2018, Megan began her professional career in the South East working for a national company.

She has a strong background in the practice of general estate management and the valuation of rural property, which allows her to adopt a broad-view approach and identify a number of opportunities for her clients. Megan grew up on a dairy farm in North Cornwall and returned to the South West in 2021.

Olivia Hazell

Rural Planning | MRTPI
Olivia is based in Oxfordshire and also covers Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire areas. With four years’ experience previously as a planning officer at both Cherwell and South Northamptonshire District Councils, Olivia has extensive knowledge of local and national policies.

Olivia has extensive knowledge of business and financial issues within the Farming and Agricultural industry gained by involvement on her parents' and husband's farming businesses.

Roland Thomas

Rural Planning | MRICS
Roland is one of our leading consultants for agricultural occupancy conditions related work.

His experience as an Agricultural Surveyor began in Leeds where he undertook a range of agricultural and rural planning projects. He also has experience of residential surveys and valuations and now specialises in property consultancy.

Roland's expert witness experience is often required at public planning inquiries.

Rose Haines

Administration and Human Resources
Rose is a member of our Corporate and Government Section, based at the Wolverhampton office. Rose provides administrative support in various areas including human resources, client accounts and the company car scheme.

Sarah Hopkins

Planning Assistant | B.ed (Hons)
Sarah is part of the South West rural planning team. Sarah's role is to assist consultants and to facilitate planning applications.

Savvas Charalambous

Rural Design | MArch
Savvas graduated from the University of East London in 2017 with a qualification of Architecture MArch (ARB/RIBA Part II).

He has experience in various Architectural and design projects, with a passion in master planning and extensive knowledge in planning standards and UK building regulations.

Savvas’ plan for the foreseeable future is to remain motivated and achieve his Part III as part of the Acorus South West Team.

Sid Richards

Rural Design | RIBA
Sid is a Chartered Architect and works on the design of buildings from inception to completion on site.

Projects he has worked on have varied from new houses and commercial offices to equestrian work stables, new farm buildings and conversion of traditional buildings.