GVA has completed the acquisition of planning consultancy How in a move which will see the Manchester-based company’s 35 staff join GVA’s existing planning, development and regeneration team.

GVA How

(L-R) GVA’s Manchester head Chris Cheap, How’s shareholding partners Richard Woodford, Gary Halman, and Jon Suckley, and GVA’s chief executive Gerry Hughes

How will now become GVA How Planning and its three shareholder partners, Gary Halman, Jon Suckley and Richard Woodford, will become senior directors at GVA, all based in Norfolk House.

The move has established GVA as the largest planning business in the north of England, with a combined capacity of more than 60 planning specialists operating from GVA’s North and Scotland offices in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Chris Cheap, head of Manchester for GVA, said that after the acquisition, the company plans to build the Manchester office into “the North West’s leading real estate advisory business”.

“GVA has a very strong regional presence in the North, and the integration of How provides an even stronger platform to deliver a best-in-class service to our clients. How and GVA have strong synergies in terms of culture and values and this is an excellent fit for our clients and partners,” Cheap added.

How was founded by Gary Halman and Richard Woodford in 2001, and advises clients including Far East Consortium, Bruntwood, Royal London, Bentley Motors, Marks & Spencer and Aldi.

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.”