Birmingham PR agency Willoughby PR is heading east and opening an office in Nottingham.

The new office is in the Lace Market and will be the base to support EastSideCity, one of the largest regeneration projects within the UK.

WPR has also recently been appointed to the PR agency roster for East Midlands Development Agency.

Willoughby joins other West Midlands agencies in setting up in the area. Last year Armadillo bought out a Nottingham agency and established a branch office.

Managing director and founder Julia Willoughby said: "We probably could have run the contract from Birmingham, but we saw the potential in Nottingham and the East Midlands where there is a lot of regeneration activity.

"We also have other work in the area so we decided to investigate opening an office."

Sue Maguire, director of WPR, who will be driving forward WPR Nottingham said: "The East Midlands is thriving with many exciting developments and initiatives taking shape.

"We saw the potential to increase our regional presence by providing exceptional public relations services."

WPR is also recruiting for its Birmingham office, adding a possible six recruits to the 25-strong team.

WPR won gold for best consumer and silver for best business campaigns at this year's IPRide Awards.

Julia Willoughby was voted CIPR Professional of the Year and Jane Ainsworth, Divisional Director, won the highly contested Young Communicator Award.

The consultancy has just been selected by the industry magazine Adline for the Recommended Agency Guide

WPR scored highly on its customer satisfaction and was voted as one of the top consultancies to work with. _ Jonathan Ray, the BBC's political correspondent in the Midlands and a former presenter of ITV's Central News, has been appointed head of 2005.

communications at EMDA, the regional development agency in the East Midlands.

Ray, 37, joined the BBC as a graduate trainee in 1990, becoming one of the corporation's youngest news editors. He later spent ten years at ITV Central, working as a news reporter and presenter, and producing factual series.

He has also worked as a media relations consultant within the public and private sector.

At the East Midlands Development Agency he will lead the teams handling media and public relations, campaigns and publications, and will also oversee all corporate and international marketing.