Damian Wild
Estates Gazette (EGI)
03 October 2014

Tension builds over office to resi

From Devo-Max to Devo-Barely-Mentioned-At-All: what a difference a week makes. The mood among developers at this week’s Conservative Party conference in Birmingham was very different to that at the Labour Party bash in Manchester a week earlier.

Where the post-Scottish referendum devolution debate had galvanised the property community and councils in Manchester, this week in Birmingham there was no such unifying theme. Unless, of course, you count tension and recognition that better co-ordinated action is needed.

All this was in evidence at another Big Think dinner staged by Mishcon de Reya and ­Central, again supported by Estates Gazette.

There was continuity in the group that had taken part in the first dinner in Birmingham: among the returnees were Darryl Flay and Martin Bellinger of Essential Living, Martyn Evans of Cathedral Group, Farrells’ Max Farrell and Dan Van Gelder, chair of the Westminster Property Association and co-founder of Exemplar. Steve Norris, chair of Soho Estates, swelled the private sector ranks, while the politicians in the room were blue not red: among them were Ravi Govinda, leader of Wandsworth council; Robert Davis, deputy leader of Westminster council; former planning minister Bob Neill; and current housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis.

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