Peter Kempsey - Partner
Peter studied architecture at Newcastle University and at Oxford Brooks University where he graduated in 1974.
He worked in local government in Cumbria where he was responsible for a variety of housing and other projects, and spent two years working for Inter Island Architects in St Lucia in the Carribean, before setting up his own practice with his wife Sonia in 1983. In 1986 he was joined by John Widdaker and Countryside Consultants was formed.
Peter is passionate about vernacular architecture. He has always been interested in old buildings, having written his graduation thesis on the subject of the re-use of redundant buildings. He is also very interested in the rural economy and is a former chair of the North Pennines LEADER Local Action Group and more recently the Solway Border and Eden LEADER Local Action Group. (LEADER provides European funding for community projects and small businesses). After working on a variety of conservation projects, from castles to bastle-houses, and barn conversions to industrial monuments, Peter attained Accreditation in Building Conservation in 2008. Since then, the volume of conservation projects has grown to such an extent that conservation work now represents over 90% of his work-load
John Widdaker - Partner
John studied architecture at Leicester University and then went on to develop a design and build business in the North of Scotland before moving to Cumbria in 1986 when he joined Peter Kempsey as a founding partner to create Countryside Consultants. He still maintains his Scottish links being a trustee for the Knockando Woollen Mill Project which is restoring a working woollen mill complete with its traditional machinery. The project is unique as it involves all the surrounding buildings that once supported it, including the Mill House, Drying Houses, tenter frames and the land and byres that originally provided for the people who worked there. Knockando Mill appeared on the BBC’s “Restoration” programme and, although not a winner, has since received funding to enable the restoration to take place. John is also interested in sustainable building techniques and is a member of CAT, the Centre for Alternative Technology.
Sonia Kempsey - Partner
Sonia studied Town and Country Planning at Newcastle University, and after working in London in planning policy and research, she worked in development control for Oxfordshire County Council before moving North to Cumbria where she was responsible for development briefs and conservation projects including Town Scheme and Conservation Area grants in Whitehaven’s Georgian town centre. She also spent some time working for the Highland Regional Council where she was responsible for the Black Isle Local Plan before joining Peter Kempsey in private practice. She has been instrumental in giving Countryside Consultants a strong planning perspective, helping to anticipate whether proposals are likely to obtain planning permission or Listed Building Consent. She has produced a number of village appraisals and has been closely involved with a number of local community development and tourism projects. She is a long standing member of the North Pennines AONB Sustainable Tourism Working Group. From 2002 – 2005 she worked for Yorkshire Planning Aid giving planning advice to farmers who were thinking about diversifying as the CAP reforms were coming into effect. She continues to provide this service in her role at Countryside Consultants.
In 2008 Sonia undertook a short course in Interior Design, the fruits of which can be seen in the interiors of Peter & Sonia’s recently developed, award winning holiday cottages, Alston Art Apartments. She is available to advise on house make-overs, holiday cottage and home interiors, either to complement our architectural services or as a stand alone service.
Ian Wells - BA. B. Arch RIBA
Ian joined Countryside Consultants in April 2011. Ian studied at The School of Architecture at Newcastle University and joined The Royal Institute of British Architects in 1984. Ian is an experienced architect who has worked on all types of commercial, educational, medical, religious and domestic projects. Ian has focused more recently on conservation work such as St Mary’s RC Cathedral in Newcastle upon Tyne, Beamish Museum, Co. Durham, Alnwick Castle and Belsay Hall, Northumberland and he hopes to become accredited in Building Conservation this year. Ian contributed to the completion of The Jerwood Centre at the Wordsworth Trust in the Lake District – a state of the art repository for Wordsworth’s original manuscripts, which has won four awards: 2005 Civic Trust Commendation, 2005 RIBA award, 2007 Stone Federation Award and 2007 Hadrian Award.
Ian’s interest in Architectural history extends to his free time, being events coordinator for The Northern Architectural History Society, in which role he plans and facilitates an annual programme of talks and tours.
Tracy Perfect Reid - Office Manager and Horticultural Adviser
Tracy has worked in a variety of business environments, including running her own business from 1987 – 1999, before joining the practice in 2008. She is usually the first port of call if you are making an enquiry. She maintains all our systems and ensures deadlines are met, and is responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly! Tracy provides day to day administrative support to the practice architects, including contract administration of projects, many involving funding from HLF, Natural England or Historic England. Tracy also has a Certificate in Horticulture and can advise on landscaping, planting schemes and garden design and has contributed to the Nenthead Community Garden project and more recently to the Nenthead Mines Conservation Management Plan.