Property People

What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire and Humber?

The opening of Trinity and the First Direct Arena last year have both increased the presence of Leeds and 2014 will see further good news with Hammerson due to start on the Victoria Gate scheme and the eagerly awaited John Lewis.

The strong 2013 office take-up levels showed positive signs of recovery but this has resulted in a real lack of Grade A office space in Leeds city centre. This is similar in York where a chronic shortage of offices is hampering growth. Sheffield has also seen increased activity. The news that Sheffield City enterprise zone is to increase by almost half is good news for South Yorkshire

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We need more occupiers inwardly investing into the Region which should happen now that we are seeing both UK and overseas investors showing an active interest in the city.

What is the best project you have been involved in?

A lengthy tribunal to prove that an oversupply allowance for Leeds City Centre offices was warranted for the 2005 list. The tribunal agreed and this yielded significant rates savings (10 per cent) to office occupiers.

What is your favourite building in the region and why?

Princess Exchange building adjacent Leeds Station recognised for its quality and outstanding design.

However, we must recognise our heritage. There are several iconic buildings in Leeds including Leeds Town Hall, The Corn Exchange, and Leeds Civic Hall. However, Kirkgate Market is one of the most significant buildings, both in terms of architectural prowess and as a cultural centre.

If you could change one thing to improve the property industry in this region, what would it be?I I would like to see faster rail links between Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester strengthening the economic linkages between them and the opportunities that could accrue as a result of a true northern hub.

Who has inspired you?

There are a number of people who have helped me over the years and steered me to where I am today. These include my family and fiancée as well as the iconic Welsh legends such as Tom Jones, Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Giggs and Gareth Edwards.