Lambert Smith Hampton moots planning expansion in wake of sale to US firm

Property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) has said it expects to continue expanding its planning team in the wake of its impending sale to a US real estate firm.

London's Oxford Street (pic: James Petts, Flickr)
London's Oxford Street (pic: James Petts, Flickr)

Countrywide Group, which has owned Lambert Smith Hampton for the last six years, announced last week that a deal had been struck to sell the business to Great Global Holdings, for £38 million.

National head of planning Steve Norris said the firm's recent expansion of its planning team is expected to continue under the company’s new ownership: "We’ve had a really strong year in terms of growth and greater independence means we can be more flexible and move more quickly in the marketplace."

Earlier this month, it emerged that Lambert Smith Hampton, which is based on London's Oxford Street, has the fastest-growing planning team in the UK.

According to Planning’s 2019 Planning Consultancy Survey, the firm increased the number of chartered planners on staff from 24 to 35 in the last year. It was ranked the 19th-biggest planning consultancy in the survey, in terms of numbers of chartered planners.

Norris, who joined Lambert Smith Hampton from consultancy Carter Jonas in March, added: "In the last 12-18 months we’ve built a really strong platform for growth, recruiting senior directors into the team, and we’re looking to build on that. 

"With the senior team in place it really is about expanding the business, growing through existing clients, and also our range of public and private sector work."

Announcing the sale of the company last week, Lambert Smith Hampton chief executive Ezra Nahome said: "It means we will become a well-capitalised and debt free business, with complete control of our future direction." 

Countrywide Group said the sale would help reduce its debts and focus on its core residential services business. The firm added that the deal is subject to shareholder approval and is expected to be completed on 31 December.

Talking about the consultancy survey results, Mary-Jane O’Neill, head of planning for London and the South East at Lambert Smith Hampton, told Planning last month that the company intends to rival some of the country’s largest planning consultancies.

"It’s about competing with the likes of Savills and Avison Young, which have had their planning teams for a very long time," she said. "Here, it wasn’t seen as a major focus, but that has shifted."

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