Regional networks

The drive to extend national coverage continues to fascinate many of the UK's largest consultancies.

Three dozen firms now have planners working out of at least four regional offices.

Savills' merger with Hepher Dixon has given the combined practice at least one planner in 14 cities or towns, including Exeter and Glasgow. "Hepher Dixon had planners in Milton Keynes, Leeds and Cardiff and a very strong London team," says head of planning Richard Shaw. "Our consultants can move anywhere in the country, which has career advantages."

RPS has chartered planners in 13 locations and planning fee-earners in 18. "We have a good spread of offices from which we can reach all areas comfortably. But if we can find good people in other locations we're happy to consider establishing more offices to achieve growth," says director of planning Chris Simkins.

London's planning consultancy sector remains strong, says RPS regional planning director John Rhodes. "It is driven by the intensity of demand for limited land resources, the increasing public appetite for urban living and the growing complexity of the planning process," he argues. "We have been broadening our expertise in affordable housing, public consultation, heritage, transport, energy and environmental assessment, which are all increasingly important components."

Jacobs, Atkins, Scott Wilson and White Young Green (WYG) Planning all run teams from at least ten sites. WYG Planning's approach is to look at areas where it can strengthen its regional position and sectors with potential. "We need a wider spread in urban design as well as more numbers," says managing director John Whitaker.

"We see continued growth in all our eight offices," says Barton Willmore director Ian Tant. He points to a general shortage of planners in the north of England. "Everyone tends to think this is a southern problem but the north is where demand for planners outstrips supply," he notes.

Atkins Planning director Paul White sees some evidence of regional disparities in the way the market is developing. "A lot of money has been sent into London and the South East and this has been drawing in resources from the regions and sectors such as heritage. The north and Midlands markets seem to be moving more slowly despite there being lots of opportunities," he says.

Several firms are branching into new territory. London-based Jones Lang LaSalle will concentrate its regional growth in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester but will be looking at other locations, says regional director John Littman.

"Our new offices in Manchester and Cambridge reflect the confidence that we have in markets in these areas," says Entec director Clive Harridge. Pegasus Planning Group now has seven offices, including Bracknell and Leeds, and is looking to build up business in London and the North West. "The key is that we have good people on the management side," says partner Mervyn Dobson.

Bidwells has strengthened its leading position in the East of England, adding ten planners in the past year and setting up shop in Ipswich. "There is competition but more than enough work to keep us busy," reckons partner Mike Carpenter. Bedford-based DLP Consulting Group casts its net more widely. "We have plans to extend our coverage in the West Midlands and the North West," says managing director Simon James.

Some firms tend to concentrate their resources. Yorkshire market leader Spawforths is a rare example of a major firm operating from a single base serving clients across the north and Midlands. "We would never say never to expansion further afield. But some consultancies seem to lose management control," says director Dave Rolinson, who plans to expand his team to 80 or 90 over the next five years.

"We look for critical mass in larger regional centres to give a range of planning skills on large complex projects," says Jim Fennell, managing director at Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (NLP), which plans a new office in Scotland.

NLP is one of only four of the top 20 planning consultancy employers yet to establish a presence north of the border. "Our turnover increased by more than a third last year, which reflects the expansion in demand," says Robin Holder of Turley Associates. "With 25 fee-earners we can offer a one-stop shop."

MAIN PLANNING TEAMS IN LONDON AND THE SOUTH EAST
Regional consultancy offices with at least four chartered town planners at 1 September 2007
LONDON
51 Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners
39 RPS Group PLC
37 CgMs Ltd
33 Barton Willmore
31 Savills Hepher Dixon
27 GVA Grimley
26 Drivers Jonas
23 DTZ
22 Arup
22 Turley Associates
21 CB Richard Ellis Planning
20 GL Hearn
20 Halcrow Group Ltd
17 DPP
16 Atisreal Ltd
14 EDAW Ltd
14 Jones Lang LaSalle
14 King Sturge
12 Scott Wilson
11 London Planning Practice LLP
11 Rapleys LLP
11 Roger Tym & Partners
10 Colin Buchanan
9 Colliers CRE
8 Cluttons
8 Metropolis Planning and Design
8 Scott Brownrigg
7 Lennon Planning
7 White Young Green
6 BDP
6 Planning Perspectives
5 Broadway Malyan Planning
5 Iceni Projects
5 Knight Frank LLP
5 Land Use Consultants
4 Atkins Planning
4 ERM
4 Llewelyn-Davies Yeang


SOUTH EAST
Reading
32 Barton Willmore
7 Entec UK Ltd
5 Jacobs Planning and Development
4 Lennon Planning

Southampton
12 White Young Green
11 Turley Associates
8 Savills Hepher Dixon

Oxford
14 RPS Group PLC
9 Savills Hepher Dixon
5 Scott Wilson

Milton Keynes
22 David Lock Associates
8 Savills Hepher Dixon

Guildford
8 Alliance Environment and Planning
7 Vail Williams

West Malling
16 Barton Willmore

Winchester
16 Adams Hendry Consulting Ltd


Basingstoke
15 Scott Wilson


Hook
13 Bell Cornwell Partnership


Epsom
12 Atkins Planning


Maidstone
10 DHA Planning


Weybridge
9 Broadway Malyan Planning


Godalming
7 D & M Planning Partnership

Reigate
5 WS Planning

Brighton
4 DMH Stallard

Windlesham
4 Boyer Planning Ltd



Main planning teams in the uk regions
Regional consultancy offices with at least four chartered town planners at 1 September 2007
SOUTH WEST
Bristol
22 White Young Green
15 RPS Group PLC
14 Barton Willmore
12 Turley Associates
10 Baker Associates
10 CSJ Planning Consultancy Ltd
9 GVA Grimley
9 Pegasus Planning Group
6 Tetlow King Group
4 King Sturge
4 Stride Treglown Ltd

Swindon
10 RPS Group PLC
9 DPDS Consulting Group
4 Halcrow Group Ltd

Cheltenham
15 Hunter Page Planning
5 CgMs Ltd

Bath
7 GL Hearn
5 Terence O'Rourke

Bournemouth
30 Terence O'Rourke

Cirencester
14 Pegasus Planning Group

Wimborne
12 Savills Hepher Dixon

Wellington
4 White Young Green


NORTH WEST
Manchester
18 GVA Grimley
18 Turley Associates
17 Drivers Jonas
12 DPP
8 Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners
7 GL Hearn
7 King Sturge
7 Scott Wilson
6 DTZ
6 Savills Hepher Dixon
5 BDP
5 Jones Lang LaSalle
5 Rapleys LLP
5 White Young Green
4 Arup
4 CB Richard Ellis Planning
4 EDAW Ltd
4 Roger Tym & Partners
4 RPS Group PLC

Macclesfield
14 Emery Planning Partnership Ltd

Handforth
12 Taylor Young Ltd

Liverpool
7 Taylor Young Ltd

Wigan
4 Steven Abbott Associates


SCOTLAND
Edinburgh
7 RPS Group PLC
6 Barton Willmore
6 DTZ
5 GVA Grimley
5 Halcrow Group Ltd
5 Turley Associates
4 CB Richard Ellis Planning
4 EDAW Ltd
4 Jones Lang LaSalle
4 Scott Wilson
4 White Young Green

Glasgow
10 Keppie Planning
8 Jacobs Planning and Development
6 DPP
6 GVA Grimley
6 Turley Associates
5 Drivers Jonas
4 GL Hearn
4 Halcrow Group Ltd

Cupar
5 Montgomery Forgan Associates


WEST MIDLANDS
Birmingham
23 GVA Grimley
14 Turley Associates
13 Drivers Jonas
12 Barton Willmore
12 Tyler-Parkes Partnership Ltd
10 Pegasus Planning Group
10 RPS Group PLC
6 Scott Wilson
5 Alliance Environment and Planning
5 CSJ Planning Consultancy Ltd
5 DTZ
5 Halcrow Group Ltd
5 Lovejoy Partnership Ltd
4 Atkins Planning
4 White Young Green

Leamington Spa
11 Entec UK Ltd

Shrewsbury
7 Entec UK Ltd


EAST OF ENGLAND
Cambridge
11 Bidwells
11 Savills Hepher Dixon
9 Barton Willmore
9 RPS Group PLC
6 Pegasus Planning Group
4 Atkins Planning
4 Qube

Bedford
14 DPP
8 DLP Planning Ltd

Norwich
14 Bidwells

Stevenage
7 Vincent and Gorbing Planning

Huntingdon
6 John Martin & Associates

Brentwood
4 JTS Planning LLP

Chelmsford
4 Bidwells

Colchester
4 Amec Earth & Environmental


YORKSHIRE AND THE HUMBER
Leeds
18 Spawforths
15 Drivers Jonas
11 Turley Associates
9 DPP
9 Peacock & Smith
8 Scott Wilson
6 Barton Willmore
5 DTZ
5 GVA Grimley
4 Knight Frank LLP
4 RPS Group PLC
4 White Young Green

Sheffield
5 DLP Planning Ltd

Harrogate
4 Carter Jonas LLP


WALES
Cardiff
12 RPS Group PLC
10 Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners
9 DPP
8 Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd
8 Savills Hepher Dixon
7 Harmers Ltd
5 Arup
4 DTZ
4 White Young Green

Chepstow
6 RPS Group PLC


NORTH EAST
Newcastle
21 Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners
7 Entec UK Ltd
7 WA Fairhurst & Partners
5 Llewelyn-Davies Yeang
5 Ward Hadaway
Darlington
6 England & Lyle


EAST MIDLANDS
Northampton
6 Smith Stuart Reynolds
4 Bidwells

Leicester
4 Landmark Planning Ltd
4 Roger Tym & Partners

Nottingham
6 Pegasus Planning Group

Derby
4 DPDS Consulting Group


NORTHERN IRELAND
Belfast
13 Turley Associates
4 BDP
4 DPP
4 Pragma Planning
4 White Young Green


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