What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire?
Gazing into the crystal ball is always difficult, but after 7 years of hardship I am confident about the property sector, indeed the economy as a whole in Yorkshire. Time will tell whether the Government’s promise to create a northern powerhouse is something more than just empty words, but Yorkshire has to seize its opportunity. I’m a proud Yorkshireman, but for 16 years until 2014 I worked in Manchester where I saw at first hand the magnificent vision & leadership shown by Howard Bernstein, Richard Leese and others to create a first class city built on property, infrastructure and transport development. The leading figures this side of the Pennines could do worse than follow their lead. If the Government is determined to invest in the regions, Yorkshire must be at the forefront and not allow Manchester & the North West to take the lion’s share of the investment and develop a south-east/north-west axis to the economy of Britain. The last 12 months have put Yorkshire firmly on the map in the eyes of the outside world, certainly from a sporting point of view, and Yorkshire needs to take advantage of, and build on, that
What is the best project you’ve been involved in?
Over the years I have had the good fortune to work on some fantastic transactions, but one of the ones of which I am most proud was the last big deal I did before leaving Manchester and heading back to the Broad Acres. I acted for Co-operative Group in 2013 in the sale and leaseback of its stunning new headquarters office building in Manchester, a deal worth in excess of £140m
What is your favourite building in the region?
Harewood House. It’s a magnificent house, built in the late 18th Century, designed by John Carr & Robert Adam. The gardens designed by Capability Brown and wider estate are equally impressive and the public footpath from the A61 through the back of the estate giving the panoramic view of the rear of the house is beautiful
If you could change one thing to improve the property industry in this region, what would it be?
I return to my first comments above. Commercial property thrives on attracting new occupiers, be they owners or tenants and the key to this is to attract new companies, new businesses and new investment to the region. By being successful in that quest, the property industry will naturally thrive
Who has inspired you?
The person who first inspired me in this profession was the senior partner of the law firm I worked at as an articled clerk and then as a junior solicitor 30 years ago – the late Roger Suddards of Last Suddards in Bradford. A wonderful man with a passion for everything he did, most notably as a lawyer with an international reputation in town & country planning law, a man who was passionate about Bradford – its past present & future - and who worked tirelessly behind the scenes following the Bradford City fire tragedy in 1985 to ensure the swift administration of the appeal fund for all the victims’ families.