Featured in last weeks Yorkshire Post Property People, Gareth Jackson is an associate at Brewster Bye Architects
What are the prospects for the property sector in Yorkshire?
The outlook seems very positive and the evidence is all around us in the shape of developments such as Victoria Gate and Wellington Street. Planning Applications are up on recent years, so there’s plenty of work in the pipeline across Leeds and the wider region as a whole. I also think the rest of the UK is waking up to the huge potential we have in the Yorkshire region and what it has to offer the world.
What is your favourite building in the region and why?
So much to choose from… I was in the Corn Exchange recently whilst a craft fair was on. It was heartening to see it bustling with life and colour and noise again after a few lean years. The refurbishment has shown what a stunningly atmospheric space it is. When it’s used to its full potential as a market place for the people it’s one of the finest civic spaces you’ll find anywhere in the country.
If you could change one thing to improve the property industry in this region, what would it be?
HS2 and re-opening defunct district railway lines to make more of the region accessible and commutable. Around 12.5% of the nation’s population lives along the M62 corridor and the transport infrastructure needs to enable growth. We have to make outlying areas more accessible through improved public transport. This will allow growth to spread throughout the region rather than in ‘hot-spots’ next to rail stations and transport interchanges. Imagine if you could get from Marsden to Leeds on the train in 25 minutes? It’s possible – and it would transform the region.
Whom do you most admire in property in Yorkshire?
Anyone who acknowledges that as a society, we are measured by how we treat those less fortunate than ourselves. We’re lucky here in Yorkshire in that we work among a dedicated community of clients and professionals who believe this implicitly, and have an enviable track record in helping to house and provide opportunities for everyone.
What is the best project you have been involved in?The next one! We’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with some amazing clients who advocate positive change and improving the lives of others. I’ve personally worked with St Georges’ Crypt, Leeds and Yorkshire Housing Association, Leeds Community Foundation, Headingley Development Trust and others. Cumulatively, helping these organisations continue their excellent work makes it difficult to choose a single scheme. Seeing how what we do can make others’ lives better is incredibly satisfying. We learn something new with every scheme which puts us in better stead for the next one. If I had to choose, I’d have to say Headingley HEART – it’s a hugely valuable community resource run by passionate people who are mostly volunteers and I’m really happy with how it turned out.