GVA announces today the acquisition of HOW Planning (HOW), which it will merge into its existing planning, development and regeneration team. HOW will dovetail with a wide range of related services including regeneration, development, compulsory purchase, economic planning and finance, reinforcing GVA’s multi-service approach to planning and development advice.

This move establishes the largest planning business in the north of the country, with a combined capacity of over 60 planning specialists operating from GVA’s extensive North of England and Scotland platform in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. It is also a major plank in GVA’s strategy to build the Manchester office into the North West’s leading real estate advisory business.

HOW was founded by Gary Halman and Richard Woodford in 2001, and has since grown to be one of the leading private planning practices in the North, working with a wide range of clients including the Far East Consortium, Bruntwood, Royal London, Bentley Motors, Marks and Spencer and Aldi. HOW was voted North West Planning Team of the Year at the recent Insider Property Awards, following on from its success in winning Residential Planner of the Year in February.

Gerry Hughes, Chief Executive of GVA said: “This is another key move in advancing our ambitious growth strategy and cementing our position as the leading real estate advisory business in the UK and Ireland. It will reinforce an area of business where we are traditionally very strong and is a major step forward for our Manchester office. We now have the undisputed leading planning team in the north of the country, and we will continue to build on this strength. I have known Gary, Richard and Jon Suckley for many years and have always had the utmost respect for them professionally and for the fantastic business that they have created. I am really looking forward to working alongside them."

Gary Halman, Managing Partner of HOW said: “HOW has many synergies with GVA in terms of its strong regional positioning, work ethos and commercially focussed approach to planning and development. Joining such a highly regarded national practice with such a strong consultancy and planning pedigree will allow us to better service our clients’ needs, enhanced by GVA’s wide experience and activity within key markets in the UK, as well as offer a strong pathway to growth for our talented workforce.”

Pictured from left to right: Chris Cheap, Head of Manchester for GVA; Richard Woodford, HOW Partner; Gary Halman, HOW Managing Partner; Jon Suckley, HOW Partner; and Gerry Hughes, Chief Executive of GVA


GVA offers the country’s leading and most diverse real estate advisory service. With its in-depth understanding of the market, supported by a leading research capability, GVA advises private businesses and the public sector on the whole real estate lifecycle - offering clients a service that spans the entire property lifecycle from strategy and planning, through to delivery and management.

GVA has 15 offices in the UK, headquarters in London and 1,500 staff around the UK. GVA is an independent group under the ownership of EQT Partners.

For further information please visit www.gva.co.uk.