What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire and the Humber?
The green agenda offers the prospect of new jobs and investment. This has already been seen in solar PV installations, where many new jobs were created last year.
Unfortunately, the Government then changed the Feed in Tariffs (the system of Government financial incentives) and the market dropped off steeply. Now FITs have been reformed and are more stable and solar PV is once again seen as a good investment. So the jobs should follow again in the region.
The Leeds City Region also has grand plans for the green agenda, which should see billions of investment flow into the region.
What is the best project you have been involved in?
Wrexham Council’s project to put solar PV panels on 3,000 of its Council houses. It was a £20m project involving 5 MW of solar power and was a great success in both financial and non- financial terms. Financially, it made the council a £20m profit, but it also provided free electricity to those council tenants, and helped spread the message about changing our ways as a result of climate change.
What is your favourite building in the region?
The student residences for Bradford University in Bradford.
If you could change one thing to improve the property industry in the region what would it be?
Convince it that building to higher standards, even if it is at higher cost, is the best solution in the longer term. We have to address energy issues as fossil fuel supplies are declining and prices are increasing.
Who do you most admire in the region?
Yorkshire’s Olympic athletes, because they showed us what we are capable of.