Consultancy Survey - Regional networks

Consultants digging in for a long haul against the downturn are finding it hard to identify which parts of the UK offer the best bets for additional market growth.

Market leader RPS Group has 11 regional teams comprising at least four chartered town planners and offers planning services from around 20 locations across the UK. "We see opportunities in all regions, but will need to monitor the recovery closely to be able to take advantage of some of them," says chief executive Alan Hearne.

"The regions that have gone into recession first will come out first," predicts Stephen Brown, head of planning, development and regeneration at GVA Grimley. "London and the South East will be a stronger marketplace in the second half of next year."

Atkins director Paul White thinks that the strongest prospects are still in London and the South East. The firm has not opened any new regional offices in the past year and has no plans to do so in the next. "The South East is likely to form the main focus for growth," agrees John Stockdale at CgMs Ltd, which has also opened an office in the West Midlands.

"The strongest areas will be London, the South East, the East of England and the South West," says Turley Associates chief executive Rob Lucas. Alliance Planning has launched a London office in the last year and expects continued growth in the capital thanks to regeneration and the Olympics, says managing director Steve Fidgett.

"Our regional planning teams in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Glasgow seem to be holding their own, but London and the South East have the greatest potential for growth. London benefits from overseas investment and there is greater diversity in the property market," says King Sturge partner Philip Robin.

"No regions appear much stronger than others," says Halcrow director Peter Goggs. "London is the best but only because it is always stronger. We have opened a couple of regional offices but are not planning any more for the time being." Clare Malcomson, associate director at Jones Lang LaSalle, expects some investment and development activity in London and the South East but sees fewer opportunities elsewhere.

"We expect all our offices to maintain their market in the year ahead," says Savills head of planning and regeneration Roger Hepher. "However, I suspect business conditions will be tougher in the north. With 15 planning offices already, we do not expect to open more in the foreseeable future. But I do want to strengthen teams in main centres such as Manchester and Birmingham."

Barton Willmore senior partner Ian Tant finds it almost impossible to see any region offering growth next year. "There are some areas of strength but these are localised," he explains. "We opened our ninth office in Cardiff in May and are seeing growth in instructions as a result. At any other time we might have seen much stronger growth."

Atisreal Ltd partner Emma Andrews sees the Midlands, North West and South West as the best bets for growth in staff. The firm is adding a planning team to its Manchester office. DLP Consulting Group managing director Simon James expects further growth in the East of England, the Midlands and Yorkshire as well as the North West.

"Most of the growth outside London is in the Manchester and Leeds regions. We opened an office in Leeds 12 months ago," says Giulia Bunting, head of national planning at Drivers Jonas. Taylor Young Ltd has also opened a Leeds office, complementing its Manchester city centre team. "If staff numbers grow at all, it will be in Leeds," says managing director Stephen Gleave.

Richard Flack, senior partner at DPP, says Manchester and Leeds are separate markets now. It has opened an office in Edinburgh while retaining its Glasgow team. "They have different areas of investment and clients," says Flack. "We also see potential in Newcastle and the South West."

In other moves, EDAW Ltd has opened offices in Belfast and Cardiff and Tribal now offers planning services from Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh Manchester and Newcastle. White Young Green has established a team in Milton Keynes to capitalise on the East of England market and is keen to get people on the ground in the North East.

MAIN PLANNING TEAMS IN LONDON AND THE SOUTH EAST

Regional consultancy offices with at least four chartered town planners
at 1 September 2008: Chartered town planners; non-corporate RTPI
members

LONDON
49 5 Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners
44 1 RPS Group plc
42 CgMs Ltd
36 8 Barton Willmore
34 9 Savills
33 CB Richard Ellis Planning
32 4 Drivers Jonas
27 5 Turley Associates
24 9 Arup
21 8 GVA Grimley
20 6 Tribal
20 3 DTZ
18 4 Halcrow Group Ltd
18 1 GL Hearn
16 7 DPP
15 1 Atkins Planning
14 Scott Wilson
13 1 King Sturge
13 Atisreal Ltd
12 Roger Tym & Partners
11 EDAW Ltd
10 1 Jones Lang LaSalle
8 1 Scott Brownrigg
7 4 Knight Frank
7 1 Rapleys
7 BDP
7 Planning Perspectives
5 8 White Young Green
5 1 Colliers CRE
5 1 Lennon Planning
5 London Planning Practice
5 Metropolis Planning and Design
5 Robinson Escott Planning
4 2 ERM
4 1 Colin Buchanan
4 Bennett Urban Planning
4 Iceni Projects
4 Lambert Smith Hampton


SOUTH EAST
READING
31 8 Barton Willmore
7 Hives Planning Ltd
6 3 Entec UK Ltd
5 Jacobs
4 DLP Consulting Group

MILTON KEYNES
27 David Lock Associates
9 1 Savills

SOUTHAMPTON
12 2 White Young Green
12 1 Turley Associates
9 2 Savills

OXFORD
13 1 RPS Group plc
8 1 Savills
6 Scott Wilson

WEST MALLING
17 3 Barton Willmore

GUILDFORD
8 3 Alliance Planning
6 Vail Williams

WINCHESTER
13 Adams Hendry Consulting Ltd

EPSOM
12 1 Atkins Planning

HOOK
12 Bell Cornwell Partnership

MAIDSTONE
10 DHA Planning

BASINGSTOKE
8 4 Scott Wilson

GODALMING
8 D&M Planning Partnership

REIGATE
6 WS Planning

CROWTHORNE
4 1 Lennon Planning

ROMSEY
4 Cluttons

SOUTH WEST
BRISTOL
19 3 White Young Green
15 1 RPS Group plc
14 1 Turley Associates
12 4 Barton Willmore
12 2 GVA Grimley
10 Baker Associates
9 Pegasus Planning Group
8 Alder King Planning Consultants
6 2 Tetlow King Group
4 Arup
4 King Sturge
4 Stride Treglown Ltd

BOURNEMOUTH
25 2 Terence O'Rourke

CIRENCESTER
25 Pegasus Planning Group

SWINDON
9 RPS Group plc
8 1 DPDS Consulting Group
7 1 Halcrow Group Ltd

CHELTENHAM
14 Hunter Page Planning
8 CgMs Ltd

WIMBORNE
16 1 Savills

BATH
8 1 GL Hearn
6 2 Terence O'Rourke

WELLINGTON
4 1 White Young Green


NORTH WEST
MANCHESTER
33 5 Drivers Jonas
17 2 Turley Associates
14 7 GVA Grimley
12 6 DPP
10 3 Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners
7 1 Lambert Smith Hampton
7 1 Rapleys
7 1 RPS Group plc
6 2 Scott Wilson
6 2 Taylor Young Ltd
6 Savills
5 4 GL Hearn
5 2 Arup
5 2 White Young Green
5 1 King Sturge
5 1 Roger Tym & Partners
5 Atkins Planning
5 Knight Frank
4 8 DTZ
4 1 Jones Lang LaSalle
4 CB Richard Ellis Planning
4 EDAW Ltd
4 Paul Butler Associates

MACCLESFIELD
12 Emery Planning Partnership Ltd

HANDFORTH
10 2 Taylor Young Ltd

LIVERPOOL
6 2 Taylor Young Ltd

WIGAN
6 Steven Abbott Associates

WEST MIDLANDS
BIRMINGHAM
28 6 GVA Grimley
17 2 Turley Associates
13 Tyler-Parkes Partnership Ltd
12 5 Drivers Jonas
12 Pegasus Planning Group
9 RPS Group plc
7 4 Halcrow Group Ltd
5 3 DTZ
5 3 Scott Wilson
5 CgMs Ltd
4 3 Alliance Planning
4 1 Atkins Planning

SOLIHULL
14 Barton Willmore

LEAMINGTON SPA
13 5 Entec UK Ltd

SHREWSBURY
7 1 Entec UK Ltd

STOKE-ON-TRENT
4 Wardell Armstrong

EAST OF ENGLAND
CAMBRIDGE
10 Barton Willmore
9 2 Bidwells
8 1 RPS Group plc
8 1 Savills
5 Pegasus Planning Group

BEDFORD
13 4 DPP
7 DLP Consulting Group

NORWICH
15 2 Bidwells

CHELMSFORD
10 1 Andrew Martin Associates
4 2 Bidwells

ST ALBANS
11 DLA Town Planning Ltd

STEVENAGE
8 Vincent and Gorbing

HUNTINGDON
5 John Martin & Associates

COLCHESTER
4 Amec Earth & Environmental

SCOTLAND
GLASGOW
13 1 Keppie Planning
9 5 Jacobs
8 1 Turley Associates
7 2 DPP
5 2 GVA Grimley
5 1 Drivers Jonas
5 CB Richard Ellis Planning
5 GL Hearn
4 Entec UK Ltd
4 Halcrow Group Ltd
4 Knight Frank

EDINBURGH
7 2 Turley Associates
6 2 GVA Grimley
6 1 Barton Willmore
5 2 Scott Wilson
4 10 DTZ
4 5 Halcrow Group Ltd
4 Jones Lang LaSalle
4 RPS Group plc

CUPAR
5 Montgomery Forgan Associates

YORKSHIRE AND THE HUMBER
LEEDS
17 Spawforths
13 Peacock & Smith
12 6 DPP
12 2 Turley Associates
9 1 Barton Willmore
6 5 Scott Wilson
5 7 GVA Grimley
5 4 White Young Green
5 2 Savills
5 Pegasus Planning Group
5 RPS Group plc
4 2 Arup

SHEFFIELD
6 3 DLP Consulting Group
4 Atisreal Ltd

STOKESLEY
4 DKS Architects

WALES
CARDIFF
14 1 RPS Group plc
11 5 DPP
10 6 Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners
9 Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd
8 Savills
6 3 DTZ
6 Harmers Ltd
5 1 Atkins Planning
4 1 Boyer Planning Ltd

CHEPSTOW
6 RPS Group plc

SWANSEA
4 CDN Planning

NORTH EAST
NEWCASTLE
25 5 Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners
7 2 Entec UK Ltd
5 2 DPP
5 2 WA Fairhurst & Partners
5 1 GVA Grimley
4 3 Tribal
4 2 Arup
4 Cundall
4 Ward Hadaway

DARLINGTON
7 England & Lyle

EAST MIDLANDS
NOTTINGHAM
7 1 Andrew Martin Associates
7 Pegasus Planning Group
4 Atkins Planning

NORTHAMPTON
7 Smith Stuart Reynolds
6 2 Bidwells

LEICESTER
4 Landmark Planning Ltd
4 Roger Tym & Partners

SLEAFORD
4 Robert Doughty Consultancy Ltd

NORTHERN IRELAND
BELFAST
13 2 Turley Associates
6 1 Scott Wilson
6 1 White Young Green
5 BDP
5 Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners
4 4 DPP
4 Pragma Planning


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