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News: Merger creates 300-strong firm in 'aggressive' expansion

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Abbey Hanson Rowe and Holford Associates are merging to form a 300-strong firm to rank among the top architecture companies in the uk, with its sights on aggressive expansion. Abbey Hanson Rowe's 170 architects will join 130 from Holford Associates in April.

James Handley, chairman of Abbey Hanson Rowe, said the merger would usher in a more corporate structure with one chief executive overseeing regional directors working from its eight offices. The bases will be in places such as London, Manchester and Huddersfield, which will be the company's hq.

'This will give the partners more time to do the job they enjoy - designing,' he said. The merger would also create administration efficiencies, a wider regional spread, and expansion of expertise, he said. Holford Associates specialises in education and commercial buildings, Abbey Hanson Rowe in leisure and health. The new name is likely to be an amalgam of the existing names.

There are no plans for an extra intake of staff, or redundancies, according to Handley, who adds that the merger is not in response to the downturn. 'There is an aggressive programme to deliver and expand our range of services.'

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