Early in 2011, GL Hearn invested to meet the challenges its clients’ now face. A year on and GL Hearn’s expanded Planning, Development & Regeneration (PDR) division is advising on several key projects of London-wide importance covering all points of the compass.
With few planning practices in London able to provide the in-depth expertise required to handle the increasingly complex planning and development issues in the capital, GL Hearn has been swift to adapt to its clients’ changing needs. A host of high profile appointments were made within the PDR team including; Giulia Bunting, Shaun Andrews, Ian Shrubsall and Graeme Tulley, together with Jon Pinkerton and his development consulting team. GL Hearn also took the unprecedented decision to bring on board a dedicated strategic communications team, with the appointment of Nick Jones and Jo Sistern. GL Hearn now has over 60 people in its London office advising on all aspects of the development process, with departments led by Alastair Crowdy and Tim Butler.
Twelve months on and the combined offer has been well received by existing and new clients, so much so that GL Hearn is now instructed on some of London’s most complex planning and development projects, including; advising locally based investor CLS Holdings plc on its Vauxhall Square and Spring Mews projects, Vinci St Modwen on its bid for the regeneration of New Covent Garden Market, St Modwen on the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre redevelopment, Land Securities’ on its plans for Lewisham Shopping Centre and advising Croydon Council’s urban regeneration vehicle (CCURV).
The PDR team is also giving CPO advice to Hammerson in connection with its Brent Cross Cricklewood redevelopment, and has recently submitted an application on behalf of Land Prop Holding BV, for a comprehensive residential-led mixed use redevelopment to provide a new 1200 neighbourhood on 10ha of previously industrial land to the south of Stratford High Street.
GL Hearn’s market leading expertise has also been retained on principal London Hospital redevelopments. Acting for Skanska – Bart’s and The London, the PDR team has submitted planning applications for the major redevelopment of Bart’s Hospital in the City of London, and for the redevelopment of the Royal London Hospital, to create the largest hospital in England. Acting for Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation, GL Hearn provides planning consultancy, daylight and sunlight advice and stakeholder consultation advice for the new 20,000 sqm Cancer Centre at Guys Hospital.
The consultancy has also successfully delivered a host of projects for a range of new and existing clients, perhaps most notably the Cherry Orchard Road development in Croydon on behalf of regeneration specialist Menta. The project would be one of the tallest residential towers in Europe. Strategic planning and development advice, proved instrumental in the project receiving planning permission in November 2011.
Shaun Andrews, director and head of GL Hearn’s planning team that specialises in advising investors and developers, commented: “The world has changed and a sharp evolutionary jump has been required to deliver consultancy solutions that are relevant and match the demands that are faced by our clients. The growth in market share that we have achieved, I believe, is derived from the way in which we are reconstructing consultancy services to better match the market conditions, the type of opportunities arising and our client’s business model. We have put in place the right people and mechanisms that allow us to introduce opportunities to clients and provide a real alternative to the more traditional larger agency firms.”
With regards combining planning and strategic communications, Nick Jones adds: “As those involved in property development well know, securing planning permission for viable development is becoming less about rigid adherence to planning policy and more about effective negotiation drawing on a range of associated areas of expertise. Years of costly pre-planning can often boil down to nerve jangling and politically charged evenings at planning committee. After such a major investment in time and resources, clients can no longer leave this side of the equation to chance.”