Willana Urban is a collective of professionals that have an inherent knowledge and understanding of the planning process. We enjoy the team environment in which we work. As individuals, we each strive toward our own pursuit of excellence. Together we deliver results in order to uphold a commitment to quality outcomes that make a positive contribution into the future.
Vicki Shirlaw
Founding Director

Vicki established Willana Associates, in partnership, in 1999. She has over thirty years experience in Facilities, Project and Construction Management and is completing her PhD which focuses on reconstruction  and recovery in a post disaster context. Her principal role within Willana Urban is to ensure the continued growth of the new business entity.  Her passion lies in the delivery of Willana’s professional service to the client. Vicki enjoys the process of collaboration and endeavours to build working alliances with experts in diverse fields that allows Willana Urban to continue to adapt to meet the needs of it’s clients. Her strengths lie in her ability to negotiate outcomes and to ensure that the Willana team communicate effectively throughout the course of their projects.  Her ambition is for Willana Urban to forge a path to a resilient future and prevail through any urban challenge.

Stuart Harding
Founding Director

Stuart brings to the Willana team over thirty years of professional planning expertise. His depth of knowledge is underpinned by working in Local Government and in the private sector for a number of years, prior to launching Willana Associates. His key focus as a Director of Willana Urban is to consolidate a professional practice that provides creative solutions to planning issues and to reinforce quality design outcomes based on sound planning principles. His many years of providing evidence in the Land & Environment Court adds another layer to his appreciation of process, legislation and mediation. This robust experience is reflected in the outcomes he seeks for Willana’s clients. His exposure to large and complex projects helps enrich the planning team’s professional practice, keeping them well-informed of current legislation and implementation.

Michael Brewer
Project Manager, Planning

Michael has a depth of experience in statutory, social and environmental planning, spanning over 23 years in the public and private sectors in varying capacities. He has a solid foundation formed by over a decade in local government planning and building assessment. He has a proven track record in all aspects of development assessment, project approval strategies, managing stakeholders, government liaison and supporting and leading teams on a diverse range of projects across NSW and Queensland. Michael assists private and council clients in proceedings before the NSW Land and Environment Court, with active involvement at Section 34 Conferences and appearing as an Expert Witness. Michael draws on his skills and experience to better understand the interactions between a project and its surrounds to create better outcomes.

Anna Michal
Project Manager, Planning

Anna has over 25 years of experience in the discipline of planning. The foundation of Anna’s knowledge is underpinned by working in Local Government for over 10 years, prior to joining Willana Associates in 2002. Her strength lies in Statutory Planning and Project Management. Anna’s role within Willana Urban is to instruct new graduates and less experienced members of the team, particularly in statutory planning and understanding the myriad of legislation that informs development. Anna keeps well informed of changes in legislation and court judgements to ensure that the Willana team is cognisant with changes to legislation that inform development and remains at the forefront of recent practices that apply to new projects.

Nicholas Dowman
Senior Project Planner

Nicholas joined Willana Associates in 2013 and brings over seven years experience within the NSW planning system. He has a strong background in statutory and strategic planning, having worked for notable planning consultancies in both Sydney and the Hunter region. Nicholas draws on his experience to advise a diverse range of clients, particularly within the residential and mixed use sectors. Nicholas completed his Bachelor of Planning at the University of New South Wales with Honours and holds a Master of Environmental and Business Management from the University of Newcastle.  His business acumen; professional expertise and relaxed nature is a combination that strengthens the new Willana Urban brand.

Emily Davies O’Sullivan
Senior Project Planner

Emily joined Willana in 2010.  Her expertise is underpinned by an extensive understanding of how the public and private sectors operate.  She is confident, diligent  and strives for the best outcome for the client while ensuring a sustainable and high quality design.  Emily completed her Bachelor of Planning degree at the University of New South Wales with Honours. She is conversant with the NSW Planning Legislation and keeps abreast of changes to planning policies. With close to a decade of practical experience, she has successfully managed both small and large projects from start to approval.  Importantly, Emily focuses on engaging the client in the planning evolution of the project to ensure they remain informed throughout the process.

Nathan Lord

Nathan has recently moved to Willana Urban’s Head Office in Sydney.  He joined Willana Associates, Newcastle office, in 2016 and completed his Master of Urban Planning and Environment degree at RMIT University, Melbourne with Distinction. He gained previous experience by working as a strategic planner in a regional, local government area of NSW.  His strengths lie in his ability to conceptualise solutions to complex problems and he ensures a high level of detail to all his projects.  He is passionate about sustainable development, heritage and cultural values in planning. Nathan has worked on a wide variety of residential and commercial projects, both large and small scale.  He will continue to be a valued contributor to the Willana Urban team through his depth of understanding on a diverse range of projects.

Conor Francis
Student Planner

Conor joined Willana Associates (now Willana Urban), as a Student Planner, in April 2018. He is currently enrolled at Macquarie University undertaking his degree in Planning. He is enthusiastic and a welcome addition. Conor is diligent in his approach and has a aptitude for planning legislation and environmental planning law. He currently assists the senior members of the team in research; drafting of reports; attending Section 34 Mediations and onsite meetings with applicants and clients. He is gaining experience in diverse areas of planning that is not always feasible in larger planning firms or local government. Conor will complete his degree in 2019 and will join Willana Urban as a permanent team member.



Our residential projects define
the way in which people live.



Our commercial projects shape
the way people do business.



Our community projects define
the social fabric in which we live.

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