The firm has recruited Brian Waters to work part- time as director and Riette Oosthuizen from Knight Frank to head the team on a full-time basis.
Waters said a dedicated planning team is needed because the planning process has become more complex.
"The amount of abortive design work there is because of the way planning has gone is bad for delivery to clients. We are trying to cut through some of that by relating planning criteria to schemes early on in the process."
The consultancy is advising Barratt Homes on its bid to develop English Partnerships' Hanham Hall zero carbon site in Bristol.
It is also working with the global real estate adviser DTZ on community cohesion for the Academy for Sustainable Communities. Work will be concentrated in the South East but the team will also help in the company's Edinburgh office.
Waters also continues to run his company the Boisot Waters Cohen Partnership.