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London practices suffer in commercial office decline

The well-publicised downturn in London's commercial office market is forcing many of the capital's biggest practices to make a raft of redundancies.

Many of the larger offices are suffering as some major developers suspend projects until they detect an upturn.

The Sidell Gibson Partnership - 33rd in this year's AJ100 - epitomises the problem. The Camden-based practice has seen staff numbers shrink from 90 at the beginning of the year to 75.

This represents a fall of nearly 50 per cent compared with the practice's all-time high of 140.

Practice partner Giles Downs said current market conditions were difficult. 'We are resizing at the moment and shrinking to reflect the London office scene, ' he said. 'But I think we have stabilised now and we are looking to get into other sectors such as the housing market.'

The Sidell Gibson Partnership's troubles mirror those at Gensler which, only last month, admitted it had been forced to carry out a second round of staff cutbacks in a year (AJ 10.7.03).

The AJ has also learnt that TP Bennetts has followed the same trend, making 'a number of our non-essential support staff ' redundant.

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