A Town Planner’s View of Hull 2017

Benson Planning Studio is just one of many successful start-ups that have roots at the C4DI. With a passion for planning, John Benson is very excited to see numerous regeneration projects in Hull become a reality in 2017. We caught up with the planning consultant to see what he predicts for the future of the city, and in particular the Fruit Market.

If you haven’t noticed already from looking up from your desk at the C4DI, the Fruit Market is having a complete makeover thanks to WykelandBeal. After several years of dormancy, many old fruit and vegetable warehouses are being brought to life to celebrate our role as the UK City of Culture 2017. The roadworks and orange bollards were worth it, as the area is now ready to begin its next chapter as a key hotspot for dining and entertainment.

“I feel lucky to work in the heart of a place that is currently undergoing a significant change and transformation, which will create a vibrant cultural and residential quarter,” enthuses John, owner of Benson Planning Studio.

Since the inception of BPS in April 2016, John has worked with various organisations on a number of regeneration projects around Hull. This has led to the revitalisation of streets and pockets of the city following years of deprivation and lack of investment.

John likens the Fruit Market to districts in London such as Shoreditch: “That was a sector of chronic underinvestment, decline and deprivation. But it is now the heart of London’s creative industries.”

“After a period of gentrification that has seen former industrial buildings adopt fresh uses, a new breed of business has been encouraged to grow there.” 

With the video marketing campaign using snapshots of Shoreditch and similar urban zones, it certainly looks like Hull is going to get its own creative hub full of exciting new opportunities.

This was a major factor in John’s decision to start his business at the C4DI: “There are very few places that will match the Fruit Market’s combination of character, vibrancy and the eclectic mix of companies.” 

After working in the industry since graduating in the early 2000s, John was keen to start his own consultancy in his hometown of Hull: “My interest in planning developed from a very young age. I studied Urban and Regional Planning at Leeds Beckett University, and from there worked at Hull City Council for thirteen years.” 

“I decided to launch my own planning consultancy business because I saw a gap in the market for one in Hull,” he explains. 

BPS is currently working closely alongside architects, developers and businesses involved with regeneration projects. John predicts that the continuing evolution of the former Fruit Market through ongoing investment and commitment is destined to prove highly successful.

“This part of the city will be transformed into an attractive area to work, play and live.”

Discover what BPS is planning now and in the future at bensonplanningstudio.co.uk.