What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire and Humber?
Really good. Major investments are planned along the M62 near Goole and Howden, Humber Ports improvements and the city centre of Hull has major investment converting disused office or commercial building into apartments. The jobs being created lead to sustainable demand for good quality housing. All the towns of Yorkshire and the Humber have major development plans afoot for various projects which will see the property sector grow compared to just ten years ago.
What is the best project you have been involved in?
The Hull Blast Centre in Hull. The idea was born out of the owners wanting to find somewhere for their children to play outside and the idea just grew. Foam dart shooting is said to be the second most popular game among young people in the world and now the centre is open for business. We are the architects for the Change of Use planning application to convert more than 7,000 sq ft of the disused industrial building. Working in partnership with Paragon Creative who designed and made some of the Euro Disney stage sets and the film Pirates of the Caribbean, the inside was transformed into a future-proof state of the art leisure centre incorporating sophisticated lighting and adventure space.
What is your favourite building in the region and why?
In Hull, The Deep. It’s iconic and its influence is all over Hull…. wherever you go you can always see slanted buildings all because of The Deep. In Leeds, the John Lewis shopping centre, especially its car park which is cleverly finished in twisted shiny metal strips. It catches one’s eye every time.
If you could change one thing to improve the property industry in this region, what would it be? The Northern Powerhouse is an excellent idea but more needs to be done with small and medium size investments. Several of these would make out for a major, quicker and sustained contribution to the regional economy.
Who has inspired you? My late mother. “Do the very best or don’t bother” she would say. So when I design a building, for example, I always ask myself if this is the very best from me.