Market sectors

The short-term prospects for residential development and mixed-use projects, most of which are housing-led, are crucial to planning consultancies' fortunes.

Together, these sectors account for about 40 per cent of planning services.

"Growth is centred on residential and regeneration," says GL Hearn head of planning Alastair Crowdy. "Factors such as the environment are also pushing things along, but the main area is an awful lot of house builders and developers seeking to realise site values, whether or not they build them out. Planning is a front-end discipline that they are going to need to put in place."

Household formation remains the driving force behind growth, according to RPS Group director of planning Chris Simkins. "New households need somewhere to form and a reasonable amount of space. The jitters in the housing market are unlikely to affect the process of identifying future development land. Land supply is the lifeblood of the industry and has always tended to transcend shorter-term economic variations."

Mixed-use regeneration, town centres and housing-led development are key growth areas, says CgMs Ltd director Mike Straw. "The market looks like being very prosperous next year," he claims. "The planning white paper and the housing green paper mean that homes will be the big driver. We see a growth area in making representations on core strategies and site allocations documents to ensure that house builders get their sites allocated in the plans."

DTZ planning director Peter Weatherhead singles out mixed developments in Wolverhampton and Ashford and a prospective eco-town in Cambridgeshire as typical of the practice's workload. "The market is growing strongly and I see no radical change in what is driving it. Major mixed-use central area regeneration schemes are where our business strength lies and that will continue for the foreseeable future," he predicts.

Barton Willmore director Ian Tant says the firm is moving into the implementation stages on major brownfield projects such as Eastern Quarry in north Kent. "We are also involved in Milton Keynes, Aylesbury, Reading and Ashford - all growth areas or growth points that will come forward in the next 18 months. We still await a decision on west Stevenage and when that comes through there will be another flurry of tying up details on conditions, masterplans and section 106 agreements," he says.

"The main drivers are the government's growth agenda and housing target," suggests Entec director Clive Harridge. "House builders may slow down the rate at which they bring projects forward, but there is unlikely to be a slowdown in the planning industry. Meanwhile, a significant area of growth is in carbon management and reducing carbon footprints."

In the East of England, Bidwells partner Mike Carpenter sees an increased focus on major mixed-use developments on the edge of urban areas. "Cambridge, Norwich and Ipswich are looking at large-scale urban extensions and smaller towns also need to grow to meet residential and employment demand. In some cases the scale of these proposals goes beyond the regional spatial strategy targets for 2021," he remarks.

"To bring forward substantial numbers and pay for infrastructure, local authorities are beginning to go for larger sites beyond 2021. Delays on the East of England Plan are not stopping local authorities from progressing local development frameworks (LDFs). They are conscious that if they don't crack on with LDFs they will face appeals, especially for housing, because they cannot demonstrate a five-year supply."

In London, Jones Lang LaSalle regional director John Littman sees no sign of a slowdown in residential, although he fears that some other regions may be hit. London Planning Practice senior partner Nic de Lotbiniere adds: "We have found more demand than supply, so there is no reason why homes would not be built even if prices go down. We are still finding our feet on sustainability and enthusiasm for modern architecture."

In Scotland, the government aims to boost provision from 25,000 to 35,000 home completions a year. "This sets a direction for councils to emphasise the need to prepare quicker plans and release more land," says Turley Associates office director Robin Holder. Keppie Planning director Gordon MacCallum notes that house builders are investing in longer-term land banks "so they are going through risk assessments ten or 20 years before anything gets built".

In the commercial sector, consultants are eagerly awaiting official advice in the long-promised PPS4. "Regional economic strategies are the best guide to the requirements for further employment development. Councils are beginning to use these to help guide them on allocations. But unless government guidance and the evidence base is in place, some will find reasons not to allocate land for employment," Carpenter warns.

Straw sees trade parks as a growth area. "There is still an interest in out-of-town developments and clients are looking at how they can enhance value," he says. King Sturge head of commercial planning Philip Robin is working on securing permission for a large data centre. "For security and cost reasons you don't want a facility like that in one of the large cities," he argues.

Consultants in the retail sector remain bullish. "If money is tight people go to supermarkets instead of restaurants," says Turley Associates London director Gary Forster, noting that its client Sainsbury's is looking to increase floor space by ten per cent. White Young Green Planning managing director John Whittaker also points to "massive involvement" in retail development, both food and non-food.

"We are doing a lot of work for retailers who are keen to expand their portfolio," adds DPP director John Francis. "Changing policies have also led to an increase in the number of mixed-use developments in which we are involved and these are usually complex schemes. Planning consultancies definitely benefit from the increased complexity of the system."

Last year's merger with Hepher Dixon has brought Savills expertise in major sports developments. The firm has carried out work for Arsenal, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur Football Clubs. But senior director Roger Hepher says: "Our top 25 clients also include eight house builders, seven general developers, a hotel company, a retailer and an extra care company."

"The main growth areas we see are major infrastructure projects, education, environmental assessment and sustainability," says Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners managing director Jim Fennell. "A lot of our projects are from major developers looking beyond the short-term ups and downs in the market," he reports.

Outside the main development sectors, consultants are putting more and more into planning strategies. The growth in business derives from representing developer and landowner clients' interests and helping public bodies with background work on LDFs, regional and sub-regional strategies and regeneration frameworks.

"Developers and operators need to understand those documents," Crowdy stresses. "This means an ongoing stream of work for consultant planners at different rates in different parts of the country. Advisers are checking these documents for whether it will affect somebody's opportunity to develop. But not all developers and operators have got their teeth into LDFs."

Tant points out that regional spatial strategies are delivering higher development requirements, a feature that is starting to work its way into the LDF process as well. Delays on LDFs and the tighter evidence base that these require are creating more work, he maintains. Savills Hepher Dixon is also acting for developers with aspirations for urban extensions in the South East and East of England.

"Doing the groundwork is increasingly important because the process is more plan-driven," says Hepher. "Developers recognise that they have to plan ahead. Councils have been slow off the mark on LDFs, but area action plans and site allocation documents will focus the attention of landowners and developers. There are so many local development documents that it is a challenge to keep tabs on them all."

Building and improving the nation's infrastructure remains a mainstay for many planning firms. "We see transport planning as an area for expansion. Energy and sustainability are also promising and we are getting together a good core team on minerals and waste," says Whittaker. He sees less scope in the telecommunications market. "Operators are scaling down their activities after a wave of investment and a number of their staff are coming onto the market," he notes.

Straw also regards the energy sector as a growth area. "We have been advising major power suppliers on the effect of wind farms on the setting of listed buildings," he explains. "This is a growth area because English Heritage is getting increasingly anxious. This kind of work will only grow as the government pushes its green agenda."

RPS does not provide separate information on its fee income in some survey categories to allow year-on-year comparison of its market position, although it is heavily involved in mixed-use and regeneration initiatives. Simkins explains that energy and sustainability issues are crucial in urban extensions and other forms of development. "Planners need to become much more au fait with the land-use implications of energy conservation and the measures that reduce carbon emissions," he comments.

Bidwells has diversified its skills base this year by setting up a transportation team. "This used to be the preserve of the big engineering companies. But we are beginning to see planning consultancies edge into taking on that expertise," says Carpenter.

But others rely on their strengths in established sectors. "We tend to outsource some types of work," says Robin. "If we need some urban design input we go out to masterplanners or architects. Similarly with transportation issues, we go out to transport experts."

RESIDENTIAL
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 RPS Group PLC £12,204,000
2 Turley Associates £6,126,000
3 Pegasus Planning Group £6,000,000
4 Barton Willmore £4,700,000
=5 DLP Planning Ltd £3,000,000
=5 GVA Grimley £3,000,000
7 Savills Hepher Dixon £2,750,000
8 White Young Green £2,500,000
9 Broadway Malyan Planning £2,100,000
=10 CgMs Ltd £2,000,000
=10 Nathaniel Lichfield £2,000,000
12 Tetlow King Group £1,940,000
=13 Atisreal Ltd £1,400,000
=13 Halcrow Group Ltd £1,400,000
15 GL Hearn £1,250,000
16 Scott Wilson £1,200,000
17 King Sturge £915,000
=18 Drivers Jonas £750,000
=18 Spawforths £750,000
=20 CB Richard Ellis Planning £700,000
=20 Lennon Planning £700,000
=20 Vail Williams £700,000
23 London Planning Practice LLP £600,000
24 Cluttons £588,000
25 Metropolis Planning and Design £586,000
=26 DPDS Consulting Group £550,000
=26 Taylor Young Ltd £550,000
=28 Colliers CRE £500,000
=28 Rapleys LLP £500,000
30 Vincent and Gorbing Planning £450,000
31 D & M Planning Partnership £440,000
32 Lovejoy Partnership Ltd £408,000
=33 CSJ and Ken Parke £350,000

MIXED USE: BROWNFIELD
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 Drivers Jonas £7,000,000
2 GVA Grimley £6,300,000
3 Barton Willmore £5,000,000
4 Halcrow Group Ltd £4,000,000
5 Savills Hepher Dixon £2,600,000
6 Nathaniel Lichfield £2,200,000
7 CB Richard Ellis Planning £2,100,000
8 Scott Wilson £2,000,000
9 Turley Associates £1,994,000
10 GL Hearn £1,600,000
=11 Arup £1,500,000
=11 David Lock Associates £1,500,000
=11 Pegasus Planning Group £1,500,000
=11 White Young Green £1,500,000
15 King Sturge £1,350,000
16 Atisreal Ltd £1,200,000
=17 CgMs Ltd £1,000,000
=17 Rapleys LLP £1,000,000
19 ERM £980,000
20 Planning Perspectives £800,000
=21 Colliers CRE £600,000
=21 Spawforths £600,000
23 Taylor Young Ltd £580,000
24 DPDS Consulting Group £550,000
25 Smith Stuart Reynolds £425,000
26 London Planning Practice LLP £350,000
27 Broadway Malyan Planning £300,000
28 Matrix Partnership £280,000
29 Metropolis Planning and Design £235,000
30 Tetlow King Group £180,000
31 Colin Buchanan £150,000
32 Lovejoy Partnership Ltd £134,000
33 Steven Abbott Associates £123,000

COMMERCIAL
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 RPS Group PLC £10,116,000
2 Barton Willmore £1,800,000
3 Nathaniel Lichfield £1,500,000
4 Scott Wilson £1,360,000
=5 Atisreal Ltd £1,200,000
=5 CB Richard Ellis Planning £1,200,000
7 White Young Green £1,000,000
8 Savills Hepher Dixon £900,000
=9 CgMs Ltd £750,000
=9 Drivers Jonas £750,000
=9 Lennon Planning £750,000
12 DLP Planning Ltd £600,000
13 King Sturge £550,000
14 Pegasus Planning Group £500,000
15 GL Hearn £420,000
16 Halcrow Group Ltd £400,000
17 WA Fairhurst & Partners £360,000
18 David Lock Associates £350,000
=19 CSJ Planning Consultancy Ltd £300,000
=19 Spawforths £300,000
21 ERM £245,000
22 Steven Abbott Associates £244,000
23 DPDS Consulting Group £219,000
=24 Planning Perspectives £200,000
=24 Rapleys LLP £200,000
=26 Broadway Malyan Planning £150,000
=26 London Planning Practice LLP £150,000
=26 Peacock & Smith £150,000
=26 Vail Williams £150,000
30 Turley Associates £138,000

RETAIL & TOWN CENTRES
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 RPS Group PLC £9,926,000
2 Nathaniel Lichfield £5,100,000
3 Turley Associates £4,639,000
4 GVA Grimley £2,900,000
5 White Young Green £2,500,000
=6 Arup £2,000,000
=6 GL Hearn £2,000,000
8 CB Richard Ellis Planning £1,800,000
9 Savills Hepher Dixon £1,600,000
10 Barton Willmore £1,400,000
11 CgMs Ltd £1,150,000
=12 Atisreal Ltd £750,000
=12 David Lock Associates £750,000
14 Peacock & Smith £650,000
15 Rapleys LLP £600,000
=16 Drivers Jonas £500,000
=16 Pegasus Planning Group £500,000
=16 Scott Wilson £500,000
19 King Sturge £450,000
20 Halcrow Group Ltd £400,000
21 Stride Treglown Ltd £380,000
22 WA Fairhurst & Partners £370,000
23 Planning Perspectives £350,000
24 CSJ Planning Consultancy Ltd £250,000
25 ERM £245,000
=26 Broadway Malyan Planning £200,000
=26 Colliers CRE £200,000
=26 DLP Planning Ltd £200,000
=26 Taylor Young Ltd £200,000
30 Colin Buchanan £150,000

LEISURE AND TOURISM
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 RPS Group PLC £5,656,000
2 Savills Hepher Dixon £1,800,000
3 Nathaniel Lichfield £1,500,000
4 Turley Associates £1,305,000
5 Barton Willmore £700,000
6 HLL Humberts Leisure Ltd £640,000
7 Scott Wilson £560,000
=8 Drivers Jonas £500,000
=8 GVA Grimley £500,000
10 ERM £490,000
11 Halcrow Group Ltd £300,000
12 Arup £250,000
=13 CgMs Ltd £200,000
=13 Colin Buchanan £200,000
=13 David Lock Associates £200,000
=13 GL Hearn £200,000
=13 Rapleys LLP £200,000
18 CSJ Planning Consultancy Ltd £160,000
19 CB Richard Ellis Planning £150,000
20 Steven Abbott Associates £111,000

LOCAL PLANNING
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 Barton Willmore £1,200,000
2 GVA Grimley £800,000
3 David Lock Associates £750,000
4 Taylor Young Ltd £450,000
=5 Halcrow Group Ltd £400,000
=5 Savills Hepher Dixon £400,000
7 Scott Wilson £350,000
8 Nathaniel Lichfield £300,000
=9 Atisreal Ltd £250,000
=9 CgMs Ltd £250,000
=9 Drivers Jonas £250,000
=9 Land Use Consultants £250,000
=9 Peacock & Smith £250,000
14 ERM £245,000
=15 Spawforths £200,000
=15 White Young Green £200,000
=17 Broadway Malyan Planning £150,000
=17 Vincent and Gorbing Planning £150,000
19 Tetlow King Group £120,000
=20 Adams Hendry Consulting Ltd £100,000
=20 Colin Buchanan £100,000
=20 CSJ Planning Consultancy Ltd £100,000
=20 Vail Williams £100,000

REGIONAL PLANNING PROJECTS
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 Barton Willmore £1,200,000
2 Pegasus Planning Group £1,000,000
3 David Lock Associates £800,000
4 Savills Hepher Dixon £600,000
5 White Young Green £500,000
=6 GVA Grimley £400,000
=6 Land Use Consultants £400,000
=8 Halcrow Group Ltd £300,000
=8 Scott Wilson £300,000
10 Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd £220,000
11 DLP Consulting Group Ltd £200,000
12 Colin Buchanan £150,000
13 Spawforths £95,000

MIXED USE: GREENFIELD
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 Barton Willmore £3,500,000
2 Halcrow Group Ltd £2,900,000
3 Savills Hepher Dixon £1,700,000
=4 David Lock Associates £1,500,000
=4 GVA Grimley £1,500,000
=4 Pegasus Planning Group £1,500,000
=4 White Young Green £1,500,000
8 Scott Wilson £1,190,000
9 Drivers Jonas £1,000,000
10 Turley Associates £855,000
11 DPDS Consulting Group £550,000
12 Smith Stuart Reynolds £425,000
=13 Atisreal Ltd £250,000
=13 CgMs Ltd £250,000
15 Cluttons £235,000
16 Spawforths £230,000
17 Tetlow King Group £180,000
18 CB Richard Ellis Planning £150,000
19 Lovejoy Partnership Ltd £123,000
20 WA Fairhurst & Partners £120,000

REGENERATION PLANS
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 GVA Grimley £2,500,000
2 Halcrow Group Ltd £1,000,000
3 Scott Wilson £900,000
4 Barton Willmore £700,000
=5 David Lock Associates £500,000
=5 King Sturge £500,000
=5 Nathaniel Lichfield £500,000
=8 Alliance £400,000
=8 Arup £400,000
=10 Broadway Malyan Planning £300,000
=10 Spawforths £300,000
=10 White Young Green £300,000
13 Atisreal Ltd £250,000
=14 CgMs Ltd £200,000
=14 Savills Hepher Dixon £200,000
16 Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd £170,000
17 Turley Associates £165,000
18 GL Hearn £120,000
=19 CB Richard Ellis Planning £100,000
=19 CSJ Planning Consultancy Ltd £100,000
=19 DPDS Consulting Group £100,000
=19 Hulme Upright Manning £100,000
=23 Three firms tied £75,000

DEVELOPMENT CONTROL
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 Scott Wilson £600,000
=2 Halcrow Group Ltd £400,000
=2 White Young Green £400,000
4 Enforcement Services Ltd £350,000
5 Savills Hepher Dixon £300,000
6 Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd £270,000
7 Atisreal Ltd £250,000
=8 Broadway Malyan Planning £200,000
=8 Colliers CRE £200,000
=8 Taylor Young Ltd £200,000
11 WA Fairhurst & Partners £124,000
=12 GL Hearn £120,000
=12 London Planning Practice LLP £120,000

TRANSPORT PLANNING
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 Arup £9,900,000
2 RPS Group PLC £8,825,000
3 Scott Wilson £2,800,000
4 Halcrow Group Ltd £2,000,000
5 GVA Grimley £1,000,000
6 Savills Hepher Dixon £800,000
7 ERM £735,000
8 Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd £700,000
=9 Adams Hendry Consulting Ltd £500,000
=9 Enviros Consulting Ltd £500,000
11 Entec UK Ltd £337,000
=12 Colin Buchanan £250,000
=12 Derek Halden Consultancy Ltd £250,000
14 Turley Associates £221,000
15 Atisreal Ltd £200,000
16 David Lock Associates Ltd £150,000

ENERGY FACILITIES
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 RPS Group PLC £3,182,000
2 Entec UK Ltd £1,100,000
3 Land Use Consultants £1,000,000
4 White Young Green £700,000
=5 Enviros Consulting Ltd £500,000
=5 Savills Hepher Dixon £500,000
7 Nathaniel Lichfield £400,000
8 Scott Wilson £340,000
9 ERM £245,000
10 Atisreal Ltd £200,000

EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 Turley Associates £580,000
=2 Atisreal Ltd £500,000
=2 Drivers Jonas £500,000
=2 GVA Grimley £500,000
5 Alliance £320,000
6 Nathaniel Lichfield £300,000
7 Savills Hepher Dixon £250,000
8 ERM £245,000
=9 Arup £200,000
=9 CSJ Planning Consultancy Ltd £200,000
=9 King Sturge £200,000
=9 Land Use Consultants £200,000

MINERALS PLANNING
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 RPS Group PLC £1,376,000
2 White Young Green £700,000
3 Entec UK Ltd £547,000
4 Alliance £250,000
5 Halletec Associates Ltd £203,000
=6 Land Use Consultants £200,000
=6 Scott Wilson £200,000
8 Landscape Partnership £150,000
=9 Land & Mineral Management £125,000
=9 Mineral Planning Group £125,000
11 Adams Hendry Consulting Ltd £100,000
=12 Colin Buchanan £50,000

WASTE PLANNING
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 RPS Group PLC £4,701,000
2 Enviros Consulting Ltd £800,000
3 ERM £735,000
4 Entec UK Ltd £579,000
=5 Scott Wilson £500,000
=5 White Young Green £500,000
=7 Land Use Consultants £400,000
=7 Savills Hepher Dixon £400,000
9 Alliance £350,000
=10 Adams Hendry Consulting Ltd £250,000
=10 Arup £250,000
=12 CSJ Planning Consultancy Ltd £150,000
=12 Landscape Partnership £150,000
=14 Land & Mineral Management £125,000
=14 Mineral Planning Group £125,000

WATER SUPPLY & QUALITY
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 RPS Group PLC £3,271,000
2 Scott Wilson £1,700,000
3 Arup £1,000,000
4 Entec UK Ltd £764,000
5 Savills Hepher Dixon £700,000
6 Land Use Consultants £500,000
7 Adams Hendry Consulting Ltd £400,000
8 ERM £245,000
=9 Rapleys LLP £100,000
=9 White Young Green £100,000

HEALTH FACILITIES
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 RPS Group PLC £2,544,000
2 White Young Green £700,000
3 Drivers Jonas £500,000
4 Alliance £250,000
5 Taylor Young Ltd £210,000
=6 Atisreal Ltd £200,000
=6 CgMs Ltd £200,000
=6 GVA Grimley £200,000
9 Turley Associates £187,000
10 Savills Hepher Dixon £150,000
=11 CSJ Planning Consultancy Ltd £100,000
=11 GL Hearn £100,000

ENVIRONMENTAL
Rank Consultancy Fee income
2007 2006-07
1 Scott Wilson £1,800,000
2 Enviros Consulting Ltd £1,500,000
3 Taylor Young Ltd £450,000
4 Planning Perspectives £400,000
5 Halcrow Group Ltd £300,000
6 Land Use Consultants £250,000
7 ERM £245,000
=8 GL Hearn £200,000
=8 Savills Hepher Dixon £200,000
10 Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd £180,000
11 White Young Green £100,000
=12 Colliers CRE £50,000


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