What is there to say about 2021 in general, not as bad as 2020 certainly, but still room for improvement The year for Nexus Planning, however, was far more positive.

We started our 2021 by becoming the first town planning consultancy (as far as we can verify) to obtain carbon negative status, meaning that we are now taking out more carbon from the atmosphere than we emit by doubly offsetting our emissions.

There were promotions galore across all our offices, within the last 12 months including 3 newly elevated directors, 2 associate directors, 3 associates, and 4 senior planners, going a long way towards recognising the talent and hard work of everyone in the team. We mustn’t forget to mention our new Nexans who have joined our ranks in 2021 bolstering the teams in every region.

We were very proud when several members of the team achieved chartered RTPI membership over the course of the year and decided to take our mentoring of new talent to the next level.  Two apprentices joined our London and Reading teams in September assisting the offices across a range of planning and administrative tasks, alongside studying at London South Bank University.

With so many talented individuals within the team, it’s hardly surprising that there were many projects that we have been very proud to be involved with, including:

  • Planning permission for Bray Film Studios was achieved by our Reading team towards the end of the year. The iconic studios are to be the location for the filming of the second series of the new Lord of the Rings TV series being produced by Amazon Prime.
  • Our award winning Manchester team secured permission for 1,100 homes on a major brownfield site at Cowley Hill Works, which will help support significant regeneration in St Helens. The team was awarded the RTPI North West Planning Team of the Year award in November.
  • In London three appeal wins in the senior living sector further strengthens our expertise in this area, the Walton scheme being placed third in Planning Resources ‘list of ten planning appeals in 2021 you need to know about’.

We launched our inaugural research thought piece in conjunction with Nexus Research and Analytics. Titled ‘Future: Department Stores’, the report explores how department stores have fared since 2015. We concluded that the picture is not as gloomy as the press would sometimes have you believe. Some innovative uses of these spaces includes a collaborative gallery space in a former Debenhams in Great Yarmouth and a husband and wife team reviving a former Beales with 30 independent shops and entertainment spaces in Skegness.

Our passion for giving back led to us undertaking beach cleans in Brighton and Crosby, allotment digging in Reading and tree planting in Tameside, also giving us much needed time to spend together as a team. Our planned 10 peaks challenge in July was unfortunately cancelled (due to ‘that which will not be mentioned’), but our intrepid Nexans hope to take on the challenge in 2022.

We undertook a video miniseries: ‘Nexus: Year in Review’  Over a number of weeks we shared stories about the people and projects that make Nexus – filmed by each person using their own equipment, predominantly during lockdown in early 2021. The blooper reel was a highlight of the year!

We started our Nexus blog series providing our team the opportunity to write about something that they’re passionate / knowledgeable about, topics to date covering embodied carbon and planning, cycle to work and planning reforms on our high streets.

So, what’s to come for Nexus in 2022? As well as the many ongoing initiatives, we are looking to the South West and Midlands with exciting news on the way. We’re currently undertaking a brand refresh exercise and constructing a new and exciting website.  And there’s still that 10 Peaks Challenge!

Authored by

Alexandra Pease, Operations Manager