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Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (NLP) is an independent Britishmarker town planning consultancy originally founded in 1962 to provide specialist advice on all aspects of the planning process. Over more than four decades the practice has built up extensive planning and development experience. Today it is the oldest and one of the UK’s largest independent firms specialising in development planning.

The practice employs staff in various disciplines including planning consultants, urban designers, masterplanners, heritage specialists and economics consultants.

Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners operates in a variety of roles on projects. This ranges from examples of acting as team leader managing a large consultancy team or providing specialist inputs to established projects.

NLP has advised on the following notable projects and developments and many more: The London Eyemarker, Wembley Stadiummarker, extension of the BBC's Broadcasting Housemarker (Egton Wing).

Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners is listed by the Best Companies Guide and achieved a Best Companies Index (BCI) Score of 698 in 2009.


The business was established by Professor Nathaniel Lichfield as Nathaniel Lichfield Associates in 1962.

During the 1960s the Company became a near indispensable part of many professional planning teams in the period of British planning covering the construction of the second wave of new towns. Nathaniel Lichfield Associates was involved in the development planning of both Milton Keynes and Peterborough, in the late 1960s.

Company Ownership

The Company is entirely owned by an Employee Benefit Trust. The Directors believe that that clients’ and employees’ objectives can most effectively be met in a Company that is independent and focused on town planning. Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners aims to provide advice which is unfettered by business interests from other disciplines within the Company. The strategic direction of the Company is planned for the long term based upon the opportunities in the town planning discipline.

The Trust assists in the long term retention of these benefits and the Company has no financial or other obligations to external shareholders. The Company believes this provides advantages which enable it to recruit and retain high quality staff and provide stability that assist it in building long term relationships with the individuals, companies, institutions, local authorities and government organisations it works with.


The Company has four UK offices in London, Newcastle, Manchester and Cardiff.

Recent major projects

National Government Projects

Government Review of Permitted Development Rights

NLP carried out a 12 month research study for the Office of the Deputy Prime Ministermarker to review the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) and the operation of permitted development rights in practice. The purpose was to ensure that these rights supported Government policy aims, remained relevant to current conditions and were easy to understand and interpret by users. The study involved a review of previous research and studies on this topic, and surveys of all English local planning authorities as well as County Councils, education authorities, heritage bodies, environmental interest groups, Government departments, private sector organisations and a range of other organisations. This was followed by detailed interviews of a number of key stakeholders, and examination of various development case studies. Analysis of all the issues raised led to the preparation of carefully justified recommendations for changes to certain areas of permitted development. The study found no need for major change to the GPDO, but identified ways in which it could be simplified and made easier to use through providing proper definitions and a more consistent approach across different rights.

Housing Options for the West Midlands (2008)

NLP was appointed by Government Office for the West Midlands to prepare housing options for the West Midlands Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) in light of the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit (NHPAU) Report. The NLP study explored whether and how it might be possible to increase the supply of housing in the West Midlands to reflect the levels of housing need identified by the NHPAU. The NLP study, which was prepared with engagement of many stakeholders from local authorities, government agencies, and infrastructure providers, formed a key part of the evidence supplied to the Examination in Public process.

The study outlined that the West Midlands could potentially see 80,000 additional housing units built by 2026 above a previously-announced target of 365,600, bringing the total to 445,600, While attempting to maximisise sustainable housing delivery in the options examined, this target was viewed by some lobbying organisations such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England as unrealistic.

Major Corporate Developments

BBC Broadcasting House

NLP advised the BBC and prepared applications for planning, listed building and conservation area consent for the redevelopment of the BBC's W1 site to create Europe's largest broadcasting centre. This development, forming an extension to the Grade II* listed Broadcasting Housemarker, the home and corporate headquarters to the BBC since the 1930s will become a state of the art broadcasting and production centre at the heart of London's West End. It will accommodate three core BBC divisions - BBC Radio & Music, BBC News and BBC World Service.

NLP's role included the preparation of a Heritage Study, with the BBC's architects MacCormac Jamieson Prichard, to assess the impact of the new development on the surrounding historic environment, which includes the Grade II* Broadcasting House and the Grade I listed All Souls Church and the Harley Street Conservation Area.

NLP continues to act as planning advisor on this development and has submitted a number of further applications for planning and listed building consent, including applications for major new works of public art. Breathingmarker, a public art work by spanish artist Jaume Plensa, comprises a 10 metre high inverted glass spire which is lit at night and projects a beam of light into the sky on special occasions. It will also serve as a memorial to news journalists who have lost their lives in the course of their work.

Tourism, Leisure and Sport

National Stadium - Wembley

In 1995 NLP was appointed by the Sports Council to join a team of consultants to evaluate the five National Stadiummarker bids from Wembleymarker, Manchestermarker, Birminghammarker, Bradfordmarker and Sheffieldmarker. NLP examined the planning and locational aspects of each bid. NLP was retained to examine additional information produced by the short-listed bidders, Manchester and Wembley. During subsequent stages of the evaluation process, Wembley was selected as the preferred site. NLP advised the Sports Council about the general site/stadia planning issues and the general environmental improvements required at Wembley to create an acceptable setting for the new stadium. NLP was then appointed to assist Wembley National Stadium Limited in preparing a scheme for a new stadium and to obtain planning and listed building permission. Tasks included preparing reports and documents on the heritage aspects of the existing stadium, co-ordinating the Environmental Statement and the highway impact assessment, preparing a planning support statement and assisting with S106 agreement negotiations following the grant of planning permission and listed buildings consent. The stadium opened in March 2007.

NLP co-ordinated the submission of information to discharge numerous planning conditions and is currently advising WNSL about applications in the vicinity of the stadium.

The London Eye

NLP assisted the operators of the London Eyemarker, the Tussauds Group, in obtaining planning and listed building consent to alter the Wheel on the South Bankmarker of the Thames. NLP also examined and reported on the implications of a S106 attached to the original contract.

NLP also prepared planning and listed building consent applications for the permanent retention of the attraction on behalf of the London Eye Company. This has involved the co-ordination of an Environmental Statement and the production of a planning supporting statement detailing the reasons for its retention.

Heritage and Conservation

Conservation Area Statements

NLP has produced a draft Conservation Area Statements on behalf of the London Borough of Camdenmarker for the following Conservation Areas:

Each of these projects involved historical background research into the development of the area followed by extensive fieldwork. The studies included audits of listed buildings, buildings and streetscape features that contribute and detract from the character and appearance of the area.

The documents provided an overview of the historic development of the areas, a detailed description of the character and appearance of the areas, an audit of the features of interest, a summary of the main issues impacting on the areas and development control guidelines.

Research Study of Conservation Area Advisory Committees

NLP carried out a study, for the London Borough of Haringeymarker, to examine the operation of various Conservation Area Advisory Committees (CAACs) in the Borough, in other parts of London and elsewhere in England. Its purpose was to identify the key factors important to the effectiveness of such groups in providing support for the local authority planning service.

The study involved a series of interviews with local planning authority conservation officers, members, CAAC members and other heritage organisations. Recommendations were made on levels of Council support for CAACs, structures and membership of such groups as well as the benefits of a single district-wide group against individual groups for each conservation area. Findings of this study were used to inform the LB Haringey in considering the reorganisation of its own structure of CAACs.

Other Heritage and Conservation Projects

NLP has assisted with heritage and conservation planning related issues for the following projects:


London City Airport

NLP advised London City Airportmarker on planning and economic matters at every stage of its growth from its original construction in 1986, including its expansion to accommodate jet aircraft in 1991, its doubling of air traffic movements in 1996 and substantial air-side improvements in 2001. Planning permission was achieved for each of these developments.

This involvement has included economic impact studies examining direct and indirect employment generation of the Airport’s growth, effects on the local labour market, its attraction to inward investment, its role on supporting the City of London financial centre, its contribution to tourism in London and its wider regeneration effects in east London and the Thames Gateway. NLP gave planning and economic evidence at two major public inquiries, where the economic and regeneration benefits of the Airport were instrumental in winning planning permission.NLP has worked at both large international airports and smaller regional airports, including:

Other Aviation Projects

NLP has provided planning advice to the following large international airports, smaller regional airports and aerodromes, including:


Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners is an RTPI Learning Partner.

Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners is shortlisted for the RTPI's Planning Consultancy of the Year Award 2009.

Links to External Organisations

Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners participates in the activities of the planning and surveying professional bodies as well as a large number of trade organisations. These include:

Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners have established links with a number of leading university town planning departments, including:


  • Harborough in Leicestershire
  • Jacqui Deans appointed.

External links

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