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Meet the Thames Valley Property Awards winners: region celebrates busy year for property sector

By Tim Wickham
10 December 2021
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The 2021 Thames Valley Property Awards applauded winners in 18 categories during a gala celebration at the Pavilion, Royal Ascot racecourse.

The awards are the leading commercial property event in the region, recognising the contributions of property agents, developers, planners, consultants, property lawyers, and dealmakers to the success of the sector. They are sponsored by Arena, BP Collins, Boyes Turner, Campbell Gordon, Gateley Legal, Haslams, Hicks Baker, IBB Law, McKay Securities, Morgan Lovell, Rider Levett Bucknall, Savills, SEGRO and Vail Williams.

Richard Thompson, Managing Director at Black Ox, publisher of awards organiser The Business Magazine, said:

“What has happened over the past 18 months has meant that businesses have had to look at their future workplace strategies, as businesses are looking to move away from full remote working. Many of the property clients we engage with say that it will take two to three years of transition before working practices become settled.”

Throughout the evening, finalists, sponsors and other guests were kept in stitches by host Marcus Brigstocke, one of the UK’s leading comedy talents.

The Awards’ special charity was once again Maidenhead-based Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service, which provides specialist care and support to children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions in Berkshire and the local area. Over £7,100 was generously donated by guests.

And the winners are…

Offices Consultancy of the Year (By number of deals) – sponsored by Morgan Lovell

Winner: Page Hardy Harris

“It has certainly been a challenging 18 months for the office sector, as the pandemic has resulted in high levels of home working, but the secret has been to be adaptable and to identify what each potential occupier needs for their business. In spite of the market conditions, we have continued to set some very strong rents and managed to close out on a large number of lettings and sales. A key part of our role is to solve problems as they arise, which is how we add value. A changing landscape is always full of both opportunities and threats but being an agile regional company has allowed us to navigate these and secure the best outcome for our clients.” Nick Hardy, Director, Page Hardy Harris

Finalists:

• Curchod & Co

• Cushman & Wakefield

• Hollis Hockley

• Savills

Offices Consultancy of the Year (By sq ft) – sponsored by Morgan Lovell

Winner: Cushman & Wakefield

"Following the first lockdown activity across the Thames Valley stalled, which led to take up for the year being 16% lower than 2019 and 24% below the five-year average. Many businesses and commentators were predicting a much lower need for office space and a long-term shift to home working. The first quarter of 2021 saw this trend continue but as the economy started to recover, the value of the office in relation to productivity and learning & development became clear. This led to a resurgence in demand as requirements that had been put on hold were reactivated, with an average 12 months’ worth of take up being transacted in the second and third quarters of 2021. Managing and motivating our people during the lockdowns and furlough periods was challenging but their resilience and strength in adversity is something I will never forget." Charles Dady, International Partner, Cushman & Wakefield

Finalists:

• Campbell Gordon

• CBRE

• Hollis Hockley

• Savills

Industrial/Logistics Consultancy of the Year (By number of deals) – sponsored by SEGRO

Winner: JLL

Finalists:

• Altus Group

• Colliers International

• Sharps Commercial

• VSL & Partners

Industrial/Logistics Consultancy of the Year (By sq ft) – sponsored by SEGRO

Winner: JLL

"We are chuffed to win two awards. What has been different for us this year is that we've had people working from home, using Zoom, and not being able to go into the office, but we have still been able to do deals and deliver on transactions. This was our biggest take-up on deals in the last 10 years. The variety of uses for industrial space is changing. The film industry is very big in the UK and companies have taken up a huge amount of space in the Thames Valley. Industrial space isn't just about storing boxes." Shaun Rogerson, Industrial Thames Valley Director, JLL

Finalists:

• Altus Group

• Colliers International

• Savills

• VSL & Partners

Community Impact Award – sponsored by Arena

Winner: SEGRO

"Community has always been important in what we do and in being close to our customers. We've helped customers through these difficult times and are also helping the community with our Covid-19 response. We also launched Responsible SEGRO, which is based on environmental, sustainability and community goals. There's a lot more to come from us." Jo Jackson, Director of Thames Valley, SEGRO

Finalists:

• Basingstoke Fire Station

• Compass Group (Select Car Leasing Stadium)

• Waitrose

Co-Working Space of the Year sponsored by Encore

Winner: Adapt by Arlington

"We had only just opened before the lockdown. The first couple of months were difficult. Fast forward and we are now fully occupied. We own the business park and this was our first co-working space as we realised our customers needed breakout and project areas. We've also attracted smaller businesses that can be part of something bigger and work next to larger companies." George Wilson, Development Surveyor, Arlington

Finalist:

• Mill House, Wooburn Green

Office Design Specialist of the Year – sponsored by Campbell Gordon

Winner: Newbury Building Society – Morgan Lovell

"This was a slow-burning project for us working with the client on a whole new workplace strategy and giving them a destination workplace to come back to. It was a massive change for them. The building society has been in the same property for a long time and it was creaking at the seams. We revolutionised the way they work." Adrian Norman, Head of Design, Morgan Lovell

Finalists:

• Agile working zone for global pharmaceutical office – Glenside Commercial Interiors

• Countryside Properties, Brentwood – Morgan Lovell

• Keepers Cottage (Bearwood Lakes Golf Club) – Oaktree Interiors

• University of Surrey – Morgan Lovell

Sustainable Development of the Year – sponsored by Savills

Winner: Springfield Meadows, Abingdon – Greencore Construction

“We’re delighted that the ESG agenda is rising to the top of people’s list of priorities. We are working to be a catalyst for change in the property development sector and are on a mission to build exemplar projects to show the works you can build net-zero or better now. The Biond build is a closed panel timber frame that is insulated with Lime-Hemp & wood-fibre insulation. The external wall panels lock up 32kg of CO2e/m2 of wall. Most developers have a negative impact on biodiversity when they build houses, we realised that we could improve the biodiversity by working with an expert in this field. BBOWT has helped us design the private gardens and the communal gardens with biodiversity in mind. They have recommended which flowers, plants and bushes to plant to increase native species of birds, bugs and insects.” James Pritchett, Greencore Construction

Finalists:

• Here + Now, Reading – V7 Asset Management

• Theale Logistics Park – McKay Securities

Young Property Person of the Year – sponsored by The Business Magazine

Winner: Mithun Rabheru, IBB Law

"All the finalists were very strong so I am very pleased, humbled and honoured to win. In a transaction, for me, it is about reminding everyone that we are working towards common goals, not against each other, so both parties are happy and get the result they are after. I try and achieve a smooth process by understanding people, what they want and how best I can help them achieve it. I've been involved with the affordable housing sector pretty much since I qualified. There's a shortage of housing so affordable housing is so important." Mithun Rabheru, Senior Associate, IBB Law

Finalists:

• Megan Eighteen, Davis Tate/Haslams

• Natasha Gandhi, TP Architects

• Daisy Sarson, Oktra

Architectural Practice of the Year – sponsored by BP Collins

Winner: Jessop and Cook Architects

"The pace of technological change in the way we work has been a challenge and as a tight-knit team, working in isolation from each other has also been a challenge. However, the practice has expanded in the last 18 months. We put purpose over profit to help address some of the inequalities we see and witness in Oxford. We feel a collective responsibility to seek out and deliver projects that will benefit as many people as possible, especially those within our community who are less privileged and underrepresented. We also see ourselves and the buildings we retrofit and design as a holistic part of the environment." Juliet Burch, Director, Jessop and Cook

Finalists:

• Design Work Studios

• JW Architects

• Philip Wadge Architecture

Property Law Firm of the Year – sponsored by Vail Williams

Winner: Boyes Turner

"The key driver for us over the last 18 months has been around communicating with clients and staying in touch. We've been particularly busy with development work during this period, especially around home ownership. A lot of our commercial property deals have been with pharmaceutical clients. It's been nice to grow our footprint in this sector in addition to offices and industrial properties." William Nassau-Lake, Partner & Nick Carter, Head of Commercial Property

Finalists:

• BP Collins

• Gateley Legal

• IBB Law

• Winckworth Sherwood

Business and Science Park Innovation of the Year – sponsored by IBB Law

Winner: Howbery Business Park, Wallingford

"HR Wallingford is a relatively small business that owns a lovely estate. Our ethos has always been to make it an attractive place to work and to tie this in with climate targets like net zero emissions. We were the first business park in the UK to have a solar farm and we are reducing our impact on the environment through initiatives on energy use, recycling and materials. We have about 60 tenants on our site and many smaller businesses have felt the pinch with Covid-19. We have helped nurture them, for example, through rent reductions." Bruce Tomlinson, Chief Executive, HR Wallingford Group

Finalists:

• Arlington Business Park, Theale

• MAPP, Camberley

• Surrey Research Park, Guildford

Residential Development of the Year – sponsored by Gateley Legal

Winner: Thames Quarter, Reading

“Thames Quarter is the first genuine build-to-rent property in the Thames Valley and is setting the standards for a totally new way of living that hitherto has not been tested in the South East. It is already proving to be in high demand from residents who want to experience a new lifestyle and is letting up really well at a high velocity. The media room, gym and communal roof garden are driving demand for a lifestyle experience.” Duncan Campbell, Director, Campbell Gordon

Finalists:

• Ash Hurst, Goring

• Sandhurst Gardens, Sandhurst

• The Cotterells, Lower Shiplake

• The Malthouse, Princes Risborough

The Morgan Lovell Workplace of the Future Award – sponsored by Morgan Lovell

Winner: Here + Now

“We built sustainability into the core of the design from the get-go. We used a sustainability consultant to help us write the initial architect’s brief, which is unusual to do it that way round. That formed the basis for the whole project. We are net zero carbon and a truly sustainable green project. We have an onsite lifestyle manager, and initiatives like a digital app for booking paddleboards to use on the Thames, plus an outdoor cinema and working areas.” Chris Hunt, Director, V7

Finalists:

• Thrive Co-working

• Adapt by Arlington

• Union Stockley Park

• 400 & 450 Longwater Avenue

Property Deal of the Year – sponsored by Haslams

Winner: Letting of 135 Theale Logistics Park to Amazon – McKay Securities

“..absolutely delighted to receive deal of the year, thank you. The whole story of this asset – cradle to grave – has been rewarding. We bought an old unit let to Kuehne & Nagel which delivered income while we got planning to build a new very sustainable logistics warehouse 40% bigger with a rental value double the old unit. Then to get Amazon to take a 10 year lease of the whole just after completion was a terrific result.” Tom Elliott, Property Director, McKay Securities

Finalists:

• Duo, Marlow - Chancerygate

• Three Mobile – Campbell Gordon

Housebuilder of the Year – sponsored by Boyes Turner

Winner: Shanly Homes

“It was a very challenging year. We have relied on some fantastic support from our subcontractors and the team has been absolutely phenomenal. We’ve been building some very exciting schemes and are fighting all the challenges that have come along. A great example is Waterside Quarter in Maidenhead, a mixed residential and commercial scheme with a river running through it that we have diverted and rebuilt around it. We are hopeful that the positivity in the market is going to continue.” Tim Nutt, Group Residential Managing Director, Shanly Homes

Finalists:

• Bloor Homes

• Vanderbilt Homes

Development of the Year – sponsored by Hicks Baker

Winner: Moxy/Residence Inn and Novus Apartments – Slough Urban Renewal

“We are ecstatic to have won. Hopefully what we have shown is that this mixed-use development is a catalyst for change. We have two Marriott hotels, including a double-decker hotel, and also 64 apartments and two retail units. Moxy is a boutique hotel, Residence Inn is an extended stay hotel for one or two months at a time that appeals to people working in the Thames Valley.” Andy Howell, General Manager Slough Urban Renewal

Finalists:

• Forge, Woking – V7

• Theale Logistics Park – MacKay Securities

Outstanding Contribution sponsored by McKay Securities

Winner: Steve Woodford, Managing Director, Haslams Estate Agents

“As the owner of a business which has been around since 1838, I’m determined to secure the legacy of Haslams, which means we must provide the best possible advice and experience for all our clients and customers. I wouldn’t want to have a business anywhere else, because the Thames Valley offers the very best for residents and investors alike. In the last year, I’ve gone back to my roots valuing more properties and interacting with customers, which has been a fantastic process and as a result, we’re looking at the core values of the business and strive to continuously improve the interactions with our customers and staff. 

“At the beginning of the pandemic, not knowing how this was going to affect the business, was both personally and professionally challenging and we had to become adept at facing the unknown, supporting our staff through a very difficult time. It was a massive learning curve for everyone, but is now an opportunity to take Haslams to the next level.” Steve Woodford

Judges’ comments:

"The winner of this year’s award has been a mainstay of the Reading and Thames Valley residential property market for many years. Haslams Estate Agents has been dominant in the Reading residential leasing market in recent years due in no small part to his enthusiasm and market presence. Steve’s grasp of the market is second to none and no one has anything like his appetite and expertise in collating and navigating the market through statistics and trends. He is also a hugely likeable, honest and straightforward person and a real pleasure to do business with."

(This event was carried out in full compliance with the government's guidelines regarding the Covid-19 pandemic)