With most political parties trying to add to the discussion of fixing the UK’s broken housing market, Sandall, the latest figure in our “I’m voting as…” series, is well-placed to share his thoughts on what it would take to win his vote.
Who are you and what does your business do? I’m Mark Sandall, joint managing director at Andrew Granger & Co. We have three offices in the region and one in London with a total of 50 staff and directors, including chartered surveyors, town planners, and other qualified property professionals. We provide advice and services covering commercial, rural, land, estate management, valuations, planning, estate agency and lettings, including buy-to-let. How has your business changed over the last five years? We have just celebrated our 25th anniversary and we have expanded both in the number of staff we employ and the range of services we offer. The rising influence of the web on the property sector has dramatically changed the way we advertise properties. Since the recession we have seen a steady increase in work in all areas, with the residential market particularly buoyant. There is now a low level of housing stock despite high demand, and in the rural sector, land is at a premium. It’s tougher to get planning permission now, and the process takes much longer because of changes to the planning system. What are your growth plans for the next five years? We want to work smarter and more efficiently. We have just invested in a new agency management system, a major overhaul of our website and are among the first agents to join a new online property search portal. We are always looking at ways to grow the business and areas of property expertise that we offer to our wide range of clients. We currently have three offices in Leicestershire and over the last ten years we have grown in the geographical areas that we cover in the East Midlands and further afield. In the next five years we will be looking to expand in the areas we cover geographically and the areas of expertise we offer to meet the changing needs of our clients. Read other “I’m voting as…” features:
What kind of government would you like to see elected (policy based)? I’d like to see one that inspires confidence, with thought out policies that don’t just favour the few. It should have policies to make it easier for first time buyers to afford purchasing a home. It still remains impossibly hard to get onto the ladder for most first time buyers. I would also like to see measures that keep the property sector buoyant and more houses being built. That is especiallytrue for developers and in the commercial market where the sector has only recently emerged from one of the worst recessions on record. In the commercial sector, we would welcome support for small to medium firms facing high business rates, and this is one way we could encourage more businesses to literally set up shop and bring back some much-needed life to the country’s many ailing high streets. In the planning sector, I would like to see measures to allow more house building and easier processes for planning approval. Do you think government in general is doing enough to support businesses of your size? Successful, growing companies are the lifeblood of the economy so we would welcome any moves by the government to boost tax relief for businesses as well as incentives for innovation, research and development. The current government says it wants to make the UK the best place to run a business, which if achieved, would translate into a commercial property boom that would generate billions in investment and thousands of jobs. More still needs to be done to achieve this. Has the impending general election caused any uncertainty regarding how you run your company? The election hasn’t affected how we run the company but it has certainly caused some uncertainty in the housing market as people hold off making a decision to move to see what the outcome is. This is a trend that we have seen with every general election. With all areas of our business from residential estate agency to commercial and rural property, we hope that the selected government will allow us to respond to their proposals positively and enable our business to grow. In one sentence, please finish this line: I’m voting as… I’m voting as a company director in the property and planning world, where it’s plain to see that implementing new policies or failing to act will have an enormous impact on the economy and people’s living standards, from the commercial property world to planning, the rural economy and whether or not many people will ever be able to own their own home. By Shané Schutte
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