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Hannah Hickman is an experienced and highly motivated professional offering specialist consultancy services in strategic planning, research, policy analysis and formulation, and project management for both public and private sector clients.

Hannah has more than twenty years' experience in urban and regional planning, working at the interface of policy and delivery in both the private and public sectors. Her senior-level roles in complex organisations have involved managing sizeable teams and budgets, advising senior managers and elected representatives and developing cross-sectoral strategy. She is keen to use her knowledge and skills to assist clients develop their policy and achieve their objectives.

Hannah can offer your organisation advice, support and additional capacity in the areas of:

Policy and strategy

Hannah can help clients understand and interpret existing policy and help clients to develop their own policy and objectives. Specifically, Hannah can provide support on:

Research and analysis

All good policy making is informed by a sound understanding of the performance of existing policy, current issues faced and an assessment of likely future pressures. Hannah has a particular specialism in employing qualitative research techniques to help inform policy review and development. Specifically, Hannah can

Workshop facilitation

Hannah is a strong communicator and is experienced in meeting and workshop facilitation. Professional facilitation can be a way of breaking down barriers to communication and providing a neutral yet informed viewpoint acknowledged by participants as not having any prior agenda. She can work with organisations to:

Hannah will synthesise the outcomes of meetings and workshops and write reports with key themes, areas for further work and next steps clearly identified.

People, project and change management

The successful delivery of any project or programme relies on having a set of clear aims and objectives, the key deliverables and people involved identified and a realistic timetable for completion. Hannah is keen to help clients with change management, particularly assistance with adapting to future changes in planning systems and structures.

Hannah can also help clients to:


Hannah has participated in various planning podcasts:

What changes are needed to support the wider & more successful application of Design Codes?BARTON WILLMORE: UNCUT. IN CONVERSATION,
What changes are needed to support the wider & more successful application of Design Codes?
DCO’s for new settlements – What do you think?BARTON WILLMORE: UNCUT. IN CONVERSATION,
DCO’s for new settlements – What do you think?
DCOs, NPSs & NSIPsThe 50 Shades of Planning Podcast,

Hannah has also written a blog on planning reform and a place for design.

Report cover

Garden Cities Developments CIC

Project management and drafting support to deliver a submission to Government on consenting mechanisms for garden communities to influence the Government’s current planning review.
Client logoProject management, drafting and editorial support for two research reports for the National Infrastructure Planning Association on increasing flexibility in the DCO process.
(2017, 2019)
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Client logoResearch report exploring the early signs of success of Combined Authorities.
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Client logoResearch report exploring the potential for the consenting regime for Nationally Strategic Infrastructure to be extended to large scale housing schemes.
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Client logoTwo research reports, together with the University of Sheffield, for DCLG on planning for housing: the first a national evaluation of the impact of the New Homes Bonus on attitudes and behaviour; and the second attitudinal research on financial payments to reduce opposition to new homes.
(2014, 2015)
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Client logoResearch report, together with Sheffield University, and the University of Liege for the PUCA (Urban Ministry of the French Government) on the English experience of soft-densification.
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Client logoProvision of consultancy support on strategic planning and transport matters, including advice on defining strategic priorities for investment.


Hannah Hickman is a joy to work with. She understood and owned a complex research brief from the start and proactively set out a work programme which perfectly suited our requirements. The work was undertaken to programme and budget and exceeded our quality expectations. We would certainly recommend Hannah again for planning and property related research.

Kevin Gibbs, Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson, and John Rhodes, Director, Quod Planning

Thanks very much for your invaluable contribution. Two fascinating case studies.

Professor John Henneberry, Department of Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield

Hannah played a critical role in the our Insights research project, "Balancing detail and flexibility - through planning to delivery". By getting to grips with the complexity of the subject, and focussing us on the key issues, she kept the project on track and enabled the client team to produce a summary report which was clear, well received, and on time.

Keith Mitchell, Peter Brett Associates

Your support, knowledge and wisdom have been very much appreciated over the last 3 months.

Andy Wood, Head of Place Making and Partnerships, South West Regional Development Agency

Hannah brought rigorous analytical skills to the task, while being sensitive to the wider policy context. She was up to speed very quickly, working well with the rest of the team and proving an excellent and persuasive communicator with senior colleagues and external partners.

Thoss Shearer, Deputy Regional Director, Government Office South West

Hannah's insights and experience were invaluable in helping shape the RDA's thinking in relation to a number of transport and planning matters.

Ian Piper, Director of Development and Regeneration, South West Regional Development Agency

Hannah is an very effective, efficient, creative and reliable consultant who delivers the required work in time and on budget and to the very highest of standards. In delivering a project for the Welsh Government I found Hannah very good to work with; she is a positive, personable and friendly but professional person. I would recommend Hannah highly to anyone.

Adam Sheppard, University of the West of England

Hannah has been a key part of our team in bidding for and successfully undertaking two large research projects for DCLG on planning for housing over the last year (2014). These reports involved a substantial amount of primary research in different case study areas and Hannah's knowledge and expertise were invaluable in delivering high quality outputs to tight timescales. We are looking forward to continuing to work with Hannah on projects in the future.

Dr Aidan While, Director Research, Department of Town and Regional Planning, University of Sheffield

I would like to pass on thanks from the steering group for a great job done on your workshop report. They all felt that the your findings from the workshop will be very valuable.

Lou Maddox, Cullompton Neighbourhood Plan Administrator

Hannah Hickman Consulting Ltd. were commissioned jointly by Grant Thornton UK LLP and Bond Dickinson LLP to undertake research and drafting for our report: "Combined authorities: signs of success", published in October 2017.

Hannah helped us to develop a sharp and pragmatic scope for this research project, challenging us constructively on the thinking that lay behind the work. She was highly professional in project-managing the research and drafting process and communicated effectively with all parties throughout. Hannah also seamlessly managed the inputs from a number of colleagues and from both participating firms.

The final draft was delivered on time and to a very high standard. Report content was well-written and authoritative, with key issues clearly drawn out and astute commentary on issues for further exploration.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Hannah and colleagues for similar research projects focusing on devolution, public sector reform and surrounding issues such as housing, infrastructure, transport and skills.

Martin Ellender, Grant Thornton UK LLP

Hannah is a pleasure to work with, and brings a rare combination of first class academic rigour and strong practical and commercial planning awareness. Her ability to draw out vital nuances and engage senior practitioners in our ambitious research project enabled us to create a national conversation around infrastructure planning, including with Government at a time when infrastructure is at the forefront of their thinking. Above all, she enhanced the team with her positive collaborative approach and critical thinking, and I would not hesitate to recommend her.

Tom Carpen, Associate Director, Barton Willmore

Many thanks for your excellent presentation - much appreciated by all (if only all our presentations were so clear!)

Duncan Bowie, London and the South East Strategic Planning Network

It's been a real pleasure working with you this year, and very happy with the results (I found out a few days ago that it's been read by the UN!)

James Harris, Policy Manager, RTPI


Further details on some of these publications may be found on my University of the West of England bio page.



07818 024594


Hannah Hickman has a professional background in urban and regional planning, in both practice and research. She began her career in the private sector, before joining the public sector, where she held senior level posts in a number of organisations including the Government Office for the South West and the South West Regional Assembly. Since 2010, Hannah has worked in both a freelance capacity and in academia as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of the West of England.

Hannah's experience has encompassed research, policy making and strategy development, public sector scrutiny, and people and project management.

Hannah combines a sharp, experienced eye with excellent diagnostic and organisational skills and a creative and ambitious approach. She has extensive experience working across sector disciplines – drawing together professionals from different backgrounds to seek common ground and goals – and has an impressive record of leading multi-disciplinary project teams. Working with the widest range of stakeholders from individuals and community organisations, to local authority elected members and Ministers, she has developed an extensive network of contacts.