Architect refuses to comment but directors’ report blames slow planning system for delays

Profit at Terry Farrell and Partners has dropped by a third, a fall that the firm has blamed on planning delays to several of its large developments.

The company reported a pre-tax profit of £240,000 for the year ending March 2006, 33% less than the £358,000 it made in the same period last year. Turnover fell 2.4% to £7.5m for the year ending March 2006, compared with £7.7m in 2006.

The practice refused to comment on the accounts but the directors’ report said the drop in turnover was a knock-on effect of the planning system.

It said: “The 2.4% decrease in turnover was a result of certain major developments being delayed by the town planning system in the UK.”

It is understood that one problem contract is at Silvertown Quays in east London, where Farrell has drawn up plans for Biota!, Europe’s largest aquarium. The scheme was originally due to open this year, but has not yet been signed off.

The report said the firm, which employs 82 architects, had found the year ending March 2006 a “challenging” one, and the directors consider the results were “good in a tough market”.

The report added that the practice’s plan for the future was “to continue efforts to secure new contracts, both in the UK and in the Far East”.

The percentage of turnover from the Hong Kong office, the firm’s only overseas branch, increased to 35% compared with 26% for the same period the year before. As a standalone entity, turnover at the Hong Kong branch rose 30%.

The highest paid director, understood to be Farrell, was paid £247,000, including pensions contributions. The firm donated £100 to charity compared with £1,015 in the previous year.