Black Box Planning is a specialist consultancy advising landowners, developers and investors in all planning related matters.

Our approach is personable and commercial, meaning we are quick to understand our clients’ objectives, identify appropriate planning strategies and add value to portfolios.

Led by Directors Conor Flanagan and Ben Read, our planning team has a wealth of experience in dealing with a variety of complex residential, commercial, retail and urban regeneration development schemes.

The Black Box Team

  • Conor Flanagan Founding Director

    Conor has over 19 years experience in private sector planning. During this period, he has acted for various private landowners, property developers and housebuilders to successfully promote development opportunities and unlock planning permissions. His expertise lies in devising strategies to align his clients’ commercial requirements with those of decision makers and establishing consensus among all key stakeholders in the planning process.

    Prior to founding Black Box Planning, Conor was lead planning director at an urban design and planning practice in Bristol. Away from the office, his young family keeps him busy and he occasionally enjoys pursuing his passions for rugby and national hunt racing.

    View LinkedIn Profile

  • Ben Read Founding Director

    Ben has gained a range of experience over the last 18 years advising landowners, operators, developers, and local planning authorities on a range of commercial and residential development projects both big and small. Whilst he adopts a pragmatic approach to finding a negotiated solution, he is also extremely competitive where getting a buzz out of a good result remains high on the agenda.

    Before founding Black Box Planning, Ben was a Partner in a multi-disciplinary property consultancy. Ben has acted as an expert witness at public inquiries on numerous occasions. Outside of work Ben is a season ticket holder at Southampton FC and also enjoys shooting.

    View LinkedIn Profile

  • Luke Challenger Associate Director

    Luke has worked on a wide range of projects spanning 14 years in planning consultancy and has successfully delivered a range of residential, commercial, retail and educations schemes. He has experience in dealing with locally contentious planning issues and navigating constrained urban brownfield schemes.

    With a strong commercial awareness Luke has advised a variety of strategic land investors, property developers and institutional organisations to lead their schemes through difficult policy environments and deliver successful planning outcomes.

    Undertaking a robust and diligent approach to project work he has key strengths in leading consultant teams, establishing strong working relationships with council officers and engaging with local communities. This helps to facilitate reflective and measured planning strategies.

    Outside of work Luke enjoys films, books and running.

    View LinkedIn Profile

  • Dan Trundle Associate Planner

    Dan is an Associate with over 9 years experience in planning practice, obtaining MRTPI in 2016. Dan has spent the majority of his career in consultancy advising and working with clients on a range of development projects across sectors. He operates proactively and is very thorough in his approach for clients with an eye for detail. Project experience includes outline planning for 500 dwellings and new neighbourhood centre urban extension to Northam, Devon and delivery of planning permissions for GKN Global Technology Centre and CarShop on Horizon 38, North Bristol.

    In recent years, Dan took the opportunity of a couple of years living and working abroad in Canada, where he served on the Municipal Planning Commission determining planning applications in Banff National Park alongside Parks Canada. Dan enjoys travel, photography and the outdoors. After many years living in Bristol, Dan now calls Devon home where he is based out of our Exeter office.

    View LinkedIn Profile

  • Chris McNulty Associate Planner

    Chris joined Black Box Planning in 2022 and brings public and private sector experience across plan-making and decision-making roles to our clients’ projects.

    Before joining Black Box, Chris was a case officer in MHCLG/DLUHC’s Planning Casework Unit, working closely with planning ministers and the Chief Planner to determine called-in applications and recovered appeals.  Prior to this, Chris spent several years in plan-making and planning policy roles in private consultancy and Local Government.

    Away from work Chris enjoys running, tag rugby and badminton.

    View LinkedIn Profile

  • David Marley Planner

    David joined Black Box Planning in 2021, and has provided planning consultancy across a variety of projects, including householder, minor and major residential development, commercial, and telecommunications developments. His experience includes application management and co-ordination, conditions management, planning appraisals and reports, and managing public consultation activities.

    Prior to joining Black Box Planning, David worked across a variety of sectors in the aerospace, telecommunications, and manufacturing sector, in the UK and overseas.

  • Elizabeth Bisp Planner

    Libby joined Black Box Planning in October 2021 and since then she has worked on a number of projects including residential, tourism and employment developments. Libby has recently completed her masters in Urban Planning at the University of the West of England, and is currently working towards Chartership.

    Outside of work, Libby plays netball and is a season ticket holder at Bristol Rovers.

    View LinkedIn Profile

  • Elisabeth Lucas Assistant Planner

    Liz is a recent graduate of Cardiff University, obtaining a Distinction in International Planning and Development. Since joining us in August 2022 she has been assisting in a range of different projects at a range of scales to develop her breadth of knowledge across the planning system. She is soon hoping to begin working towards her chartership.

    Outside of work Liz is an avid Liverpool FC supporter and enjoys being outdoors, cooking and travelling.

    View LinkedIn Profile

  • Henry Clegg Assistant Planner

    Henry is based in our Exeter office and has been a Graduate Planner at Black Box Planning since August 2022. He completed a Masters degree in Urban Planning from the University of the West of England in September 2022. He has worked on commercial and residential projects engaging with clients and stakeholders providing solutions tailored to their needs.

    Outside of work Henry likes to travel, plays hockey for ECV Hornets and is a keen football fan and supporter of Burnley FC.

    View LinkedIn Profile