our history

Optimis Consulting was established in January 2009 with the aim of offering a unique and holistic service rather than a traditional planning consultancy. We understand development from a commercial position, recognising the importance of the economic climate in the planning industry. Our services also provide a focus on localism to assist relationships between communities, land owners, and developers.

Optimis Developments was founded in 2010, providing a bespoke agency service to landowners seeking to acquire or dispose of land assets.

In 2010 Optimis expanded, moving to a larger office in the centre of Bedford. Optimis was awarded RTPI UK Planner of the Year Award 2011 and in 2013 Optimis were delighted to be a finalist in the “Community Investment Award” at the Beds Business Excellence Awards 2013. Two further awards were won in 2014 at the Bedfordshire Federation of Small Business Awards.

2014 saw a significant growth in the company with the team doubling in size and two further awards were won at the Bedfordshire Federation of Small Business Awards.

2017 brought the land function of Optimis Developments into Optimis Consulting, as well as creating a separate Land and Planning department. Optimis opened a London office located in Covent Garden to provide a platform to work closely with existing and new clients wishing to develop in London. Optimis were also the delighted winners of the 2017 RTPI Small Planning Consultancy of the Year.

In 2018 we were highly commended by the judges for the RTPI learning Partner Award which recognises excellence in learning and development for planners by employers who have been accredited as RTPI Learning Partners.

We also attended the SME National Business Awards final at Wembley Stadium where we celebrated reaching the finals in two categories, Community Business of the Year and Employer of the Year.

In 2019 we won the RTPI Learning Partner Award. We won the award for our graduate programme which provides a comprehensive education in the planning and development profession, developing individual skills in a nurturing and supportive environment.

our ethos

We aim to provide a range of planning and development services to those people with an interest in property, to enable them to optimise the value and use of their property interests through imaginative, planned and commercially prudent strategy.

We aim to pass on our technical and commercial knowledge of planning and development so that people with an interest in property may achieve their own success.

We aim to be professionally and socially respected; and be a company that grows so that everyone who works for or interacts with the Optimis is proud of their association and is inspired by it.

We aim to always be mindful when structuring our services and fees of our clients’ need to manage their funds and maximise their assets.

our approach

Planning and development are intrinsically linked and this informs the basis of our approach. The variety of skills and experience in the team mean that we are able to provide a holistic approach for our clients. We pride ourselves on being able to provide an approach to planning that also understands the development and commercial aspects. We are therefore able to look at a project in the round and take viability into account.

Optimis is therefore not only able to seek to obtain development planning permission, but we are able to work with you to get the best planning permission for your needs. We have experience in working in:

• Local Authority
• House Building
• Property Management
• Negotiation

• Architectural Design
• Urban Design
• Rural Planning
• Renewable Energy

Justin Wickersham
Managing Director
Sarah Greenish
Land Consultant
Fiona Baillie
Marketing Manager
Jenni Thomas
Business Manager
Bethany Wickersham
Trainee Office Manager
Duncan Mason
Gary Wilkin
Land Development Manager
Leila Cramphorn
Senior Planning and Development Consultant
Joe Read
Planning Assistant

our awards

It is enjoyable to receive recognition from fellow professionals and we feel that this adds value to our clients.

In 2017 Optimis was named Small Planning Consultancy of the Year at the United Kingdom and Ireland's more reputable planning awards. The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence are the most established and respected awards in the UK Planning Industry.

Justin Wickersham, Managing Director who was named UK Planning Consultant of the Year at the 2011 RTPI Planning Awards, said:

"We are absolutely thrilled to have won such a prestigious award. After winning RTPI Planning Consultant of the Year in 2011 it was fantastic to stand on the stage with my team, six years later, to receive this award and to be commended for our work with the community. We look forward to building on this success with our London office which opened earlier in the year."

The greatest achievement that we aim for is the satisfaction of our customers and the gratitude for helping our clients negotiate the planning process.


“I have personally found Justin Wickersham to be polite, professional and reasonable. Likewise, the other staff who I have had dealings with at Optimis have consistently behaved in a similar manner. They respond to requests for further information promptly and track the progress of applications closely to ensure that they can diligently address matters as they arise. On the whole I believe Optimis to be a well-run, knowledgeable and professional organisation who balance the needs of their clients with that of ensuring that the common good is not undermined.”

Paul Rowland, Assistant Director (Planning), Bedford Borough Council

“I have worked with Optimis on a variety of residential schemes in the Greater London and Kent area. On all occasions Optimis has managed the planning process in a timely and professional manner. Their way of presenting and arguing the planning case is extremely robust and communication on all projects gas been outstanding and this has allowed us to maximise the opportunity to develop the sites.”

Ryan Rana, Director, Ashview Homes Ltd

“We work with Optimis closely on a regular basis; they are the first consultancy we approach with any planning issues and they are always able to assist in an efficient and effective manner. The entire team is approachable, hugely knowledgeable and always professional. Their experience in all aspects of planning is second to none and we regularly recommend them to clients, particularly those who require a high level of consultant management. Often they are very complex projects and require multi-disciplinary and exemplary project management skills; Optimis execute this offering seamlessly and we are grateful to have them in our arsenal”

Chris Lonsdale, Michael Hardiman & Associates LLP

"Optimis bring a positive and enthusiastic approach to project management. We have worked with them on a wide range of projects that bring challenges involving environmental constraints, including arboriculture, ecology and landscape and visual sensitivity. Optimis are inclusive and reflective in their approach working with team specialists to identify the key constraints and how to balance protecting and incorporating valuable features while ensuring site proposals they both are viable and innovative”.

Jonathan Billingsley, Director, The Landscape Partnership

corporate social responsibility

We provide time and professional advice in various ways to assist local communities in preventing or supporting development and give voluntary advice to parish councils on their Neighbourhood Plan.

We assist local schools in encouraging students to join the profession and we were pleased to undertake a series of lessons for Year 7 pupils at Lincroft School in Oakley, presenting Town and Country Planning to aid the understanding of settlement expansion, a core subject in the children's syllabus.

"We therefore not only invest money, but considerable amounts of time into the community because our expertise can provide considerable assistance to local people."

The team at Optimis volunteered for the day and joined the River Thame Conservation Trust in its battle against the aggressive non-native plants, which are driving out native species with disastrous consequences for the countryside. Read more »


"I would like to take this opportunity to formally thank Optimis who have always been helpful in reaching out to our community. I am positive that together we will be able to enhance the quality of our local area when our regeneration plans are completed."

Balkrishan Meeda (Trustee)
Bhagwan Valmik Sabha, Cultural and Community Development Centre


Optimis is a small business but one that recognises the importance of working with the community, by helping local talent develop & flourish.

Oakley Saturday Football Club

For the past 5 years we have provided sporting equipment for the Oakley Saturday Football Club, an organisation that provides structured football coaching for over 80 children between 5 and 10 years old as well as for the Bedford Academy of Football.