James Welch


James is a founding Director of OPEN and Fellow of the Landscape Institute. He brings to the company over 28 years of experience across many aspects of the landscape profession. He trained in landscape architecture at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, before moving south to spend much of his early career with Derek Lovejoy Partnership in London. He worked on a variety of challenging landscape design and construction projects, including Euro Disneyland, before finding a particular interest in landscape and environmental planning.

During the 1990’s he became a Partner and moved back to Edinburgh to develop Lovejoy’s Scottish office. At this time he began to build a reputation in the energy market, helping to secure planning consent for a number of gas fired CCGT power stations and gas storage facilities across the UK. This work enabled the office to grow rapidly and in 2004 he was instrumental in the merger of the Edinburgh team into EDAW’s global business. The office grew to 40+ staff under his leadership with a broadening of the team’s reputation as a leader in landscape architecture; urban design; masterplanning and environmental planning related work.

In 2009, following the acquisition of EDAW by AECOM, James decided to establish a new venture to enable him to truly capture the position that he and his team has established in Scotland and Northern Ireland. OPEN was founded in July 2009 and has grown steadily in response to the trust and support that the practice has gained from its diverse and reputable client base, secured through the exemplary ability of its staff.

The OPEN organisation allows James to be an active practitioner and he continues to have a key role in providing landscape planning services across the UK. His experience has developed particularly in the renewable energy sector but he is also involved in a wide range of other residential and commercial developments. He has appeared as an Expert Witness at over 75 Public Inquiries and Appeals across the UK.

James Welch