How long have you worked at Hargreaves Land and can you describe your role within the firm?
I’ve been with Hargreaves for six years, during which time my role has changed from managing the planning, environmental permitting and wider stakeholder management processes for our surface coal mining projects, to developing restoration and after-use strategies, to my current role managing the Hargreaves Land Scottish Development Team. I act as project lead for our Westfield and Poniel developments, which between them have over 370 acres of employment land for class 4, 5 and 6 uses. In addition to assisting with identifying new opportunities.
What attracted you to a career in the property sector?
If I’m honest it was by accident and a circuitous route, I had intended to be a geologist. However, I read Minerals Surveying at Leeds University and qualified as a Chartered Mineral Surveyor dealing mostly with industrial / brownfield land remediation, mineral and waste planning issues, which through developing restoration and after-use strategies, has led into more traditional property development.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I know that most people say this, but problem solving and variety is really what keeps things interesting and project continuity seeing developments through from conception to delivery is a really satisfying part of the job.
What projects are you currently working on?
Westfield and Poniel are the two projects I’m currently working on. Westfield is located in central Fife near Glenrothes and is one of the largest brownfield sites in Scotland. Planning Permission in Principle has been granted for a masterplan including 250 acres of employment and energy generation uses anchored by a 22MW Energy from Waste Facility. Poniel is a 120-acre site located directly off junction 11 of the M74 in South Lanarkshire with Planning Permission in Principle for class 4, 5 and 6 uses.
To date, the project that has given me most satisfaction both personally and professionally is the restoration of the former Muir Dean surface mine, which is now fully restored. Here we managed to turnaround a significant previous mining liability, which has now been nominated for a Scottish Planning Quality Award. However, Westfield with the various complex issues around remediation and re-development is rapidly becoming a favourite.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Ask me again in 10 years once Westfield is fully occupied!
As a Chartered Surveyor, chairing the RICS Environment and Resources Global Professional Group Board for several years was very rewarding as has been assisting colleagues through their APC journey to become the next generation of Chartered Surveyors.
Which three famous people, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party?
One characteristic that I really admire in others is bravery and conviction to follow their beliefs, so spending time with Captain James Cook, Ernest Shackleton, and Rosa Parks would provide a great opportunity to explore those personality traits.
Describe your dream holiday
Anything active really with an element of exploration or adventure. I don’t do sitting in the sun, so somewhere in the mountains or on the ocean, preferably both would suit. A week in Yosemite or the Sierra Mountains followed by a week at Santa Cruz would certainly tick all the boxes.
If you could be anyone from any time period who would it be and why?
Not an easy question to answer, but one of the great explorers from the 18th or 19th century, Captain James Cook, Ernest Shackleton or John Muir. The opportunity to be the first person to set eyes on undiscovered areas would be truly amazing.
What book did you read last?
Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
Name your top 3 albums of all time
Revival – Gillian Welsh; Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd; Moving Pictures – Rush.
When you’re not at work what do you like to do?
Any water sports but particularly paddle boarding at moment, hill walking, climbing and mountain biking; I’m also a season ticket holder at the Glasgow Clan, my local ice hockey team, and Celtic, the greatest football team in Scotland. I’ve also been a keen follower of professional cycling for over 30 years and travel to Flanders every April to watch some of the spring classic races including the toughest, the Tour of Flanders.