Property professionals flock to Leeds to discuss the future of region's market

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MORE than 150 property industry professionals gathered in Leeds last night to discuss the future of property in the region.

The annual cocktail party event, organised by the Association of Women in Property, was held at Harvey Nichols and attracted guests from a range of companies, including Turley Associates, Irwin Mitchell, Wilmott Dixon and Simons Group.

Vicki Freestone, the association's branch chairman and associate director at planning and design consultancy Turley Associates, said: "We are mindful of the current climate but the feeling in the room was optimistic for the future of the region's property industry and it was great to see lots of new people and companies taking up this opportunity to network."

Joanne Jamieson, business unit director at Wates Living Space, which sponsored the event, added: "We are pleased to be the sponsor of this prestigious event for the second year in succession. We recognise that the past year has been challenging for the industry as a whole; however, this has also created many new opportunities. Wates Living Space will continue working with our clients across the region, to uncover different solutions to new challenges presented."

Women in Property is a national organisation which was founded in 1987 as a networking platform for professional women in the property sector.

It now has more than 1,400 members and 12 regional branches representing the 15 per cent of women who work in the property and construction industry workforce and provides them with a forum to network and train with other industry professionals. It organises more than 300 events across the country each year.

Women in Property in Yorkshire and the North-East has almost 100 members from sectors including town planning, architecture and interior design.

Wates Living Space, part of the Wates Group, builds or refurbishes 26,000 homes for residents each year through more than 50 affordable housing frameworks. It works across projects including refurbishment, supported living, mixed-use and maintenance.

Wates is one of the UK's largest family-owned construction services and development companies. Established in 1897, it remains privately owned and employs more than 2,000 people. In 2009, it had a turnover of 945m.