We are happy to announce the appointment of Murray Blackburn-Smith as a Director of the planning team in our Newcastle office and will welcome him on-board  Thursday 24 May.

Murray has more than 30 years’ town planning experience in both local government and private practice, with qualifications including a Degree in geography and politics, Graduate Diploma in planning, and a Masters in cultural heritage.

His extensive career as a Local Government planner spans a wide range of metropolitan and regional Councils. Immediately prior to joining City Plan, he was Newcastle City Council’s Development and Building Manager, which affords him a remarkable understanding of development opportunities, constraints and planning assessment processes within Newcastle City Centre, and the broader local government area. Murray has also previously held positions at Snowy River, Nambucca, Ku-ring-gai and Woollahra Councils.

Throughout his local government career, Murray has developed expertise in strategic planning, project management, and development assessment (including retail, commercial, residential and State significant developments). As a consultant planner, he has also been responsible for preparing development applications and planning proposals for private clients, independently assessing applications on behalf of consent authorities, formulating strategic plans and policies, and preparing masterplans for residential areas and town centres. Murray’s experience includes managing numerous appeals in the Land and Environment Court, and negotiating large and often contentious and complex development proposals through the approval process.

Murray also has a strong interest, and experience, in providing design and heritage advice in relation to planning assessments. This can assist with raising the quality benchmark for any new project, with benefits to both the client and the community.