Michelle DaviesDirector and Education Lead, BA (Hons) MRTPI

Director, Education lead

Since joining DPP in 1988, Michelle has been involved in flagship projects across the UK. She has worked in a range of sectors including education, urban living, purpose built student accommodation, and build-to-rent schemes.

Michelle played a pivotal role in securing planning permission for Arena Point, a £95 million purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) scheme in Leeds City Centre. The building, which will be the tallest in Leeds, will deliver 705 beds across a mix of studio apartments and shared cluster flats. Michelle has secured planning permission for similar purpose built student accommodation in York, Sheffield and across the country. During these projects she has worked with a range of leading developers, including Olympian Homes, Zephyr X and MBU Capital to name a few.

During her time at DPP, Michelle has become our in-house expert on education projects. She has been the driving force behind a host of successful approvals for schools, colleges, universities and is now recognised as one of the country’s leading planners in the sector. She has an enviable track record and has achieved a 100% success rate in education planning applications since 2015.

The nature of Michelle’s work often incites emotive issues like traffic generation, loss of playing fields, and sustainability. Michelle’s expertise lies in navigating these issues with empathy, understanding and technical skill. She collaborates closely with educators, community leaders and stakeholders to listen to issues raised at consultation and accommodate various points of view.

With her extensive local knowledge and long-standing working relationships with councillors and stakeholders, Michelle is able to advocate for projects skilfully and sensitively. Having been in planning for so long, she anticipates problems before they arise. With Michelle’s foresight, projects are de-risked before the scheme become delayed with setbacks. Having anticipated challenges, Michelle adapts plans and manages proposals so that they achieve approval without friction.

Michelle has experience as an expert witness at public inquiries, particularly on retail policy issues. She is trusted to prepare pragmatic, impartial reports which elucidate the technical issues with clarity and precision.

Speak to Michelle about: education projects, urban living, purpose built student accommodation, build-to-rent schemes, and retail projects in England (particularly Leeds and Yorkshire).