Building for the Future: Getting the basics right

At a recent event hosted by Insider Media West Midlands, two panels explored property development and large infrastructure projects in the West Midlands from both public and private sector perspectives.

Our Managing Director Jon Stott sat on the private sector panel, representing Gateley Hamer and the real estate advisory services offered by the Gateley Group as a whole. This blog post highlights some of Jon’s key points from the discussions.

Strategy & Planning is key

When it comes to implementing large development projects in the region, steps need to be taken to ensure that the projects meet the needs of the communities and businesses that it will affect. Effective early engagement is critical to enable developers to build a clear understanding of the community’s needs, and to assist displaced businesses and residents to relocate.

With projects like HS2 it is essential to start the planning process early and therefore engaging with the local communities is crucial to ensure that any concerns are addressed out before the project commences. Understanding the needs of displaced businesses, and providing them with certainty, is essential to maintaining local goodwill towards the project.

Patrick White of the West Midlands Combined Authority added: “It’s all about partnership, regional frameworks and local plans – the private and public sectors coming together.”

Social value and education benefits all

When large projects come about, there is always going to be a lot of media attention focusing on a variety of different angles about how the plans will affect the community – both positive and negative. It’s therefore important that key stakeholders make themselves known and take the opportunity to educate people on why the project is happening and how it will benefit the region. By talking at universities, schools, council meetings and even directly to the press, a clearer picture can be built to help reinforce what the project is trying to achieve.

As well as this, we need to be working with schools and universities to highlight the career opportunities that exist in our sector, especially with the number of developments across the country continually increasing. Our team is committed to spending time engaging with local schools and universities, highlighting career opportunities on specific projects and more generally in relation to land assembly and compulsory purchase, as well as providing training to client teams, enabling knowledge to be retained locally and recycled for other projects.

 Compulsory purchase orders in the public interest

Jon was also asked about compulsory purchase orders and how Gateley Hamer advises both scheme promoters and affected landowners from initial consultations, right through to the settlement of compensation claims. Jon reaffirmed, to widespread agreement, that compulsory purchase can be used as an effective tool when the public benefit of the underlying scheme will outweigh private loss suffered by displaced parties.  CPOs facilitate development to meet project programmes and deliver land within a clear compensation framework, offering budgetary control.

The public sector panel comprised Andrew Bannister from Scape Procure, Craig Rowbottom from Birmingham City Council and Patrick White from West Midlands Combine Authority. Joining Jon on the private sector panel was Glen Howells of Glenn Howells Architects, Jessica Bowles from Bruntwood UK and Sean Bowles from Morgan Sindall Construction.

Our Real Estate advisory services combine Gateley Hamer’s specialist property services with legal expertise from Gateley Plc and specialist advice from capital allowances and land remediation relief business, Gateley Capitus. Together, we can advise on the lifecycle of a property asset, through investment, development, management and disposal or a combination of these. View our Real Estate Advisory Services brochure here.