Restoration role for former property surveyor

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A well-known Yorkshire commercial property surveyor, who changed career to run his own landscaping company, is restoring the former headquarters of Yorkshire Forward.

Andrew Crowther, a former development director of the Scarborough Property Group, which became VALAD Group, was appointed to landscape and maintain the Victoria Place office development in Holbeck, near Leeds Station.

The site used to house the headquarters of the now-defunct regional development agency Yorkshire Forward and is now being developed by MPS (Medical Protection Society) and Cheshire-based Patrick Properties.

Mr Crowther said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won the Victoria Place contract.”

He added: “We have been asked to restore Victoria Place’s grounds to their former glory and to ensure the site looks as good as it did in the heyday of Yorkshire Forward.”

Mr Crowther set up Leeds-based Ashfield Grounds Maintenance after leaving the Scarborough Property Group in 2009, as the recession in the property market took hold.

Clients include Wilton Developments, BAM FM, Gent Visick, DTZ Facilities Management, Willowbrite, GVA On Site, Henry Boot and the Scotts Miracle Gro Company.

He said: “In some ways, it was a massive change of direction when I swapped my surveyor’s suit for my landscaper’s work wear, but there was an element of continuity.”

He added: “I thoroughly enjoy running my own company and the outdoor life is certainly healthier than the sometimes pressurised helter-skelter world of surveying that I was previously part of.”

Ashfield provides services including grass cutting and mowing, tree pruning, site and building clearance, commercial fencing, tree and shrub planting, litter picking and rubbish removal, and reactive building maintenance.

MPS bought the buildings in 2011 for £8m or £9m – about half the price Yorkshire Forward paid for them between 2006 and 2008.