In its 30th year of business, DLA has evolved to meet the challenges facing planning and design in the UK.
DLA’s first commission in 1988 provided critical advice to Olympia and York on the development of the ‘second wave’ land around Canary Wharf. This led to other large-scale, economically driven projects including the strategy for Kent Thameside and Ebbsfleet.
In the 90s, the Company was engaged in the town planning and master planning of several major residential developments, and by the mid-1990s our reputation for success in promoting large projects with a strategic significance, such as Emerson’s Green, was well and truly established. A growing professional team and the need for bigger premises saw DLA move to its current premises in CMK which have expanded twice since then.
A wave of innovative and bold projects followed including the designation of Merry Hill in the West Midlands as a new town centre, and plans put forward for a new settlement in East Devon; skill, tenacity and staying power eventually ensured that the new settlement evolved from a tentative dot on a structure plan to Cranbrook, a growing and highly sought-after new community to the east of Exeter.
During this period, David Lock was appointed part-time Chief Planning Advisor at the Department of the Environment. New companies were created including DLA Architects Practice and Integrated Transport Planning (ITP) as the benefits of close collaborative work with expert and trusted colleagues became central to our business.
As we approached the new millennium a raft of further exciting challenges arose. DLA was appointed by O&H Properties to carry out the planning and master planning of Peterborough Southern Township. Now the largest urban extension in Europe, we continue to act for O&H, advising on implementation and planned further growth.
In 2010, DLA completed its first major commission in China, a master plan for the National Innovation Park for two million people in Wuhan.
In 2013 we celebrated 25 years of outstanding consultancy with our clients, colleagues and former colleagues. DLA continues to be at the heart of the debate about the future of planning and development in the UK. We are leading contributors in the Garden Cities debate and continue to promote the agenda for greater joined-up thinking around housing growth and economic development.
We continue our founder’s vision of bringing together like minded people, who have a vocation to design and plan sustainable communities to provide people with the homes, jobs and services they need.