Planit IE's joint managing director Pete Swift

Planit-IE to become employee-owned

Landscape and urban design studio Planit-IE, set up by joint managing directors Pete Swift and Ed Lister 20 years ago, has announced its intention to become an employee-owned company.

Speaking to Place North West, joint managing directors Swift and Lister explained their reasoning behind the move. Swift said becoming employee-owned would be “the best way in which we can ensure the business continues to flourish long into the future”, following the example of other built environment consultancies including Arup, Mott MacDonald, and Turley.

The practice has two offices in the North West: one in Altrincham and another recently-opened site in Liverpool. It also has an office in London.

Swift said: “As a people-centred business, it’s vital that our staff feel a strong sense of value and belonging and that they can rise to senior positions without having to find not insignificant sums of money to buy that status.”

Lister said the leadership team had spent “the last six months speaking to our friends and collaborators who operate employee-owned businesses, exploring the mechanics of forming an employee-owned trust and whether it would be right for us.

“We’ve never been driven by the idea of building a business to sell, but rather putting in place a succession plan that will see new generations at Planit IE continuing to support existing clients and developing new ones based on our reputation long after we’ve gone.

“We are still relatively young and so putting this plan in place now will enable us to focus on our continued quest to build the best team and to work on the very best projects.”

Swift and Lister said the directors would be looking to undertake “extensive engagement” with its existing team, and would be working with the Employee Ownership Association to put a structure in place for its employee-owned trust.

The directors also said there was potential expansion plans to other areas that would complement the practice’s three existing studios.

Planit is working on some of the most high-profile developments across the North West, including Peel’s £5bn Liverpool Waters masterplan; Manchester’s £330m Our Town Hall project; a proposed overhaul of Lincoln Square, also in Manchester; and Bruntwood’s £750m Circle Square.

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