Newcastle under Lyme firm Hacking Ashton has merged with Cheshire planning firm John Rose Associates. The combined firm claims to have the region's largest specialist planning team, which comprises seven town planners and planning solicitors. The firm will be independently branded as John Rose Associates. Covering planning, urban design and regeneration, John Rose Associates will seek to capitalise on local projects, including the regeneration of Stoke on Trent. Hacking Ashton director of planning Carl Copestake said: "We've worked together in the past and we can now offer an unprecedented, complete level of legal support to a growing industry sector."