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West End firm Howard Kennedy is launching a dedicated planning department with the appointment of English Heritage's legal chief.
English Heritage director of legal Nigel Hewitson is expected to join Howard Kennedy in early September. His appointment follows a two-year hunt for a planning partner.
Hewitson joined the non-governmental organisation in the summer of 2001 after spending almost 20 years at the London Borough of Harrow, where he trained as a solicitor and eventually headed the planning and property function.
Howard Kennedy head of property Paul Sprignall told The Lawyer that the launch of the firm's planning practice will complement its property practice, which acts for the likes of Frogmore and Galliard Homes.
"I hope our clients will react kindly to the move. I imagine all these clients will need planning advice at some stage," he added.
English Heritage, which looks after more than 400 historic properties and monuments, including Stonehenge, parts of Hadrian's Wall and Kenwood House, is in the process of hiring a successor for Hewitson. Applications for the position are due to close next month.