I think the prospects are good but they’re held back at present. Constraining factors are two-fold. Firstly Brexit. There’s a nervousness in the commercial market and agents tell us that deals are being put on the back burner until there’s more certainty about what’s going to happen.
HS2 and its impact on the South Bank of Leeds has the potential to be transformational.
The regeneration of the South Bank already has started, especially in the education sector around the Leeds College of Building.
Physically, HS2 will scythe through land-holdings and developers are waiting to see how it will feature before they can move forward.
What is your favourite building in the region and why?
The Hepworth. It’s made a terrific impact, kickstarting regeneration in that part of town and really making a difference. Wakefield wasn’t going anywhere fast until The Hepworth which shone a light on the city, its history and its future potential.
If you could change one thing to improve the property industry in this region, what would it be?
I think it’s grasping the nettle of public transport. It’s been talked about for long enough.
Whenever it gets to the point of putting money on the table, investment in transport falters. Leeds still doesn’t have a super-tram or guided bus; we still don’t have electrification of rail between Manchester and Leeds. In the North, people find it easier to get to and from work by car and that needs to change.
What is the best project you have been involved in?
A bit of a hidden gem is Alexander Court, on Great George Street behind Leeds City Library. In the 1980s there was no new city centre living and this was the first new residential scheme to have received planning and to have been built in the epicentre of Leeds at that time.
Who do you most admire in property in Yorkshire?
Although we haven’t met, I appreciate what Chris Thompson of Citu is doing in pushing the green agenda.