Leith Planning

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Leith Planning is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Executive Chairman
Leith Planning head office
Leith Planning is a boutique town and country planning
consultancy with offices in London and Lancashire. The
group includes construction, investment and property
management arms. As such it is well placed to meet the needs
of its clients, which come from a variety of fields. Executive
Chairman Chris Plenderleith explains more about its key goals
going forward and analyses the sector in which it operates.
In many ways we have ended one era and started another. Aspects of Leith
Planning’s journey will be familiar to the 1.4 million UK private sector businesses
and their employees. It is a journey shared with 67 million people in the UK. This
article is about our journey, as we move from respond to recover, and how we
are investing to thrive in 2021, despite the significant challenges. In many ways
life has changed. However, we believe that many of the tried-and-tested methods
and our intrinsic values and principles remain true. Furthermore, they provide a
Combined authorities
In January 2020 we co-wrote a research report, “Combined authorities –
collaboration on housing and planning”, which we were commissioned to create
by the Local Government Association.
»Executive Chairman:
Chris Plenderleith
»Established in 1992
»Offices in London and
»Services: Boutique town
planning consultancy
»No. of employees: 12
Leith Planning
Highlighting best practice
The key themes of this project were:
»Increasing supply through innovative
funding and investment
»Meeting the need for housing
»Accelerating housing delivery by co-
ordinating and creating sites
»Alignment with the wider growth
»Addressing urban renewal through
Mayoral Development Corporations
»Excellence in quality, design and
»Advantages of capacity building,
procurement, delivery and
The Covid-19 pandemic didn’t feature
in the above report. Nor for that matter
did it feature in Leith Planning’s Risk
Register. Over the last 12 months, we
have moved robustly from response
mode into recovery mode. We may be
slightly battered and slightly scarred
but, as a business, we possess a survivor
mentality. The key is investment. The
key is collaboration. The key is strategic
partnerships. The key is innovation. I will
deal with these inturn.
The above report for the Local
Government Association advocated
“collaboration”, which is as valid
today as it was in 2019. It has
been put to me that “there is an
element of complacency in the
economy and the economy will
most certainly have a Darwinist
element going forward”. My
experience is that while change is
inevitable, business leaders are not
complacent. The Booths Chairman
Edwin J Booth CBE DL wrote to
me recently, and I share his views:
“At Booths, we responded quickly
to our customers’ concerns about
the pandemic and moved to ensure
good product availability during
the panic buying stage, swiftly
adopting measures to ensure that
both our customers and colleagues
remained safe. We have been
effective in being able to provide
a comprehensive and workable
response which has led to our
business performing ahead of the
UK grocery market.”
Non-Executive Director
Rebecca Booth and
Group Planning Director
Paul Kallee-Grover
Central London development
delivered by Leith Planning
We are
investing in
training our
staff. We are
investing in
Strategic partnerships
We have been awarded, by the
Department of Trade, the status of
export champion for the Northern
Powerhouse. We have strategic
partnerships with investors in China,
Japan and India. In the UK we have
worked with Lancaster University
on sustainability, Heathrow and
Hounslow on the Southern Rail
access and the Haulage Association
on facilities required to feed
the nation.
Investment and innovation
We have agreed to invest ten per
cent of annual turnover in new talent
and are recruiting apprentices. We
are investing in training our staff. We
are investing in growth. Shareholders
support this approach and are willing
to fund this out of retained profit –
retained in more prosperous times
for times such asthis.
As Jack Welsh stated, “Good business
leaders: create a vision, articulate
the vision, passionately own the
vision and relentlessly drive it to
completion.” In creating a vision
we believe that innovation and
adaptability to change are pivotal.
Our report for the Local Government
Association explored increasing
housing supply through innovation
funding and investment. We have
supported the Building Research
Establishment in their pioneering
work on accommodation for people
with dementia. We have worked with
Lancaster University on sustainable
airports. Innovation is a great
counterfoil to change.
A successful business needs to deliver
a profit. It needs to grow and evolve.
However, to do so it must look after
the wellbeing of its shareholders,
clients, customers, suppliers and its
employees. Their wellbeing is the
foundation of futuresuccess.
Sticking to our principles
In many ways life has changed.
However, we believe that many of
the tried-and-tested intrinsic values
and principles remain true. If we
harness collaboration, strategic
partnerships, investment and
innovation then we can move from
recover to thrive. I commend the
government in many aspects of policy
to support business.
However, going forward I trust that
government and opposition alike act
with integrity, not self or partisan
interest. In fact, I invite government
to harness collaboration, strategic
partnerships, investment and
innovation; then we can move from
recover to thrive. A good place to start
is #monkeyfirst i.e. the hardest problem;
vaccinate the nation, lift lockdown and
support British businesses, such that
we can move from respond to recover
and thrive in 2021.
As a business,
we possess a
Thekey is
The key is
The key is
The key is
Chief Operations Officer
Shan Dassanaike and
Group Planning Director
Paul Kallee-Grover


This article was sponsored by Leith Planning. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy