I worked with Mark and Stuart for over 6 years when I was Executive Director for the HCA North West. They have a very strong work ethic, grounded in an in-depth technical understanding coupled with a very positive and passionate approach to working with partners. What consistently impressed me was their innovative approach to unlocking barriers and finding commercially based solutions, all within the sometimes challenging regulatory framework.
They delivered record outputs on the disposal of residential sites from the HCA’s extensive land portfolio, pioneering a new approach to the de-risking and disposal of land. The outcome was a much more streamlined and consistent process which led to accelerated disposals and the avoidance of price adjustments from bidding partners. They also adopted a consistent and very successful approach to promoting HCA land assets through planning policy. Stuart’s enthusiasm and track record of delivery provided a platform for him to successfully promote multiple new programmes and initiatives across the North West, including the allocation of 4 Garden Villages.
Deborah McLaughlin (Managing Director, Real Estate Projects, Capita)
As a company, we have worked with Mark and Stuart for a number of years, primarily as a development partners on the HCA Developer Partner Panel. They introduced a professional and commercially driven approach to the delivery of sites in the North West, based on a clear understanding of the level of technical information required to assist bidders. This clarity has been hugely beneficial to us as a company as it has resulted in accurate tender submissions, condensing negotiations and therefore accelerating delivery.
Their understanding of the needs the development industry (and commercial drivers) have provided us with greater confidence in bidding for sites, resulting in us successfully securing a number of sites in the North West. We have also found them to be strong but fair and pragmatic in negotiations, resulting in a level of trust which has been very helpful in achieving timely and positive outcomes for all parties.
Paul Fleet (Land Director, Story Homes)
As a key partner on the Preston, South Ribble & Lancashire City Deal Executive Stuart has been critical in both delivering the HCA sites which contribute to the delivery of the core outputs of the deal, and also in providing sound strategy advice on positioning partners to best exploit future opportunities. Stuart’s positive and ‘can do’ approach has been a key feature in achieving the housing targets for which I (as Chair) am accountable. Stuart has built a reputation for devising innovative solutions and working very openly with partners to build trust, whilst solidly representing HCA interests.
Stuart and Mark have applied a commercially driven approach to the 11 HCA owned sites within the City Deal area, unlocking many which have been stalled for decades. This has not only led to record numbers of new homes, but also provided a key funding stream to finance the Deal. This track record is hugely impressive. Stuart expertly brings together a comprehensive level of technical expertise with an ability to work will all partners, even in challenging circumstances.
Jim Carter (Deputy Chairman, Eric Wright Group and Director, Lancashire Enterprise Partnership)
I have worked with Stuart and Mark for over 5 years, primarily through the work they have delivered regarding HCA sites within Preston, as well as being a key partner on the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal. They have an in-depth understanding of the requirements of local authorities and have worked collaboratively with officers and members of the Council to unlock mutually beneficial outcomes. Their proactive and considered approach to partnership work has been pivotal in delivering a step change in the supply of public sector residential land within Preston.
Stuart has been a key partner on the City Deal, having been involved at the outset to negotiate with Government to secure the deal and help establish the governance framework. The City Deal is now delivering significant growth outputs, and Stuart has been critical in assisting partners; negotiating with Government to achieve new ways of working. The success of the City Deal has provided a platform for Stuart to secure new opportunities for the City, such as through additional capacity funding and the allocation of the City Centre as a Housing Zone. Working with Stuart and Mark has had a significantly beneficial impact on the Council.
Lorraine Norris (Chief Executive, Preston City Council)