WYG reveals loss over six months

Multidisciplinary consultancy WYG has posted an operating loss, but says that the finalisation of the government's planning reforms should result in further confidence in the residential sector.

The consultancy - one of the biggest employers of chartered town planners in the UK - has posted results for the half-year to 30 September showing an operating loss of £2.5 million, against a £300,000 profit for the half-year to December 2010. The firm has changed its financial year to end in March.

According to Planning's latest consultancy survey, published last month, the firm employed 69 chartered town planners in the UK on 1 September and had a planning fee income of £11.8 million in 2010/11.

WYG's report to investors, published earlier this month, says that its overall revenue in the six months to September was £68.5 million, down from £83.7 million in the second half of 2010.

But the report says that the firm's planning and design team had seen a steady flow of work, particularly in the retail and residential markets.

"We believe that the enactment of the Localism Bill and finalisation of the National Planning Policy Framework will result in further confidence and activity in the residential sector," it says.

John Whittaker, managing director of WYG's planning division, told Planning that the firm had been taking on small numbers of planners "organically as offices need them", and added that it is likely to recruit a small number of planners in the coming year.

Whittaker said public spending cuts had opened opportunities for WYG to work for councils where planning staff numbers had reduced, mainly in development management.

69 - Chartered town planners employed by WYG in the UK in September 2011

Source: Planning Consultancy Survey.

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