The move has met with a barrage of criticism from Scottish bloggers and Edinburgh locals. It comes as the agency continues to be investigated by the Association of Professional Political Consultants (APPC) following a tide of damaging newspaper allegations.
The agency, which specialises in planning issues, has hired Donald Anderson, dubbed ‘Teflon Don’ by locals, as director of the PPS Group’s Scotland office.
Local media have questioned Anderson’s appointment to lead an agency that lobbies for Mountgrange Capital, the company behind the unpopular Caltongate development that will see parts of the Old City overhauled to build luxury flats.
Edinburgh Evening News reporter Ben Borland said: ‘Anderson said he’s not working on Caltongate. We will let the readers decide.’
Anderson insisted his current employment at PPS was not linked to his support of Mountgrange’s plans while he was council leader. ‘It’s a laughable notion,’ he said. ‘I didn’t carry undue influence.’
In July, both the Evening Standard and Channel 4’s Dispatches alleged that PPS used ‘trickery, deceit and manipulation’ to secure planning permission for certain developments (PRWeek, 1 August 2007). APPC chair Gill Morris said PPS’ law firm Carter-Ruck was currently reviewing the coverage.