Ascot: Thames Valley Property Awards is ‘best ever’

A pulsating evening at the Thames Valley Property Awards showcased the region’s very best properties, firms and people. More than 650 guests joined the celebrations at Ascot Racecourse on May 2.

Peter Laurie, head of client relations at awards organiser The Business Magazine, said: “Looking at the strong nominations it’s been a good year. Developers, agents, planners, consultants, property lawyers, dealmakers are testament to the velocity of the Thames Valley property market.”

The sixth annual awards were sponsored by Blake Morgan, Boyes Turner, Campbell Gordon, CoStar, Crowe, Encore Property Management, Gateley, Haslams, Hicks Baker, Jansons Property, Leaders Romans, Jelf, McKay Securities, Morgan Lovell, PBA now part of Stantec, Pegasus Group, Regus, Savills, and SEGRO.

TV presenter, broadcaster and former England rugby union player Martin Bayfield hosted the awards, steering the evening through 16 award categories with plenty of banter and anecdotes.

Devine inspiration

On the night, guests donated £12,500 for Maidenhead-based charity Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice Service, which supports children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, and their families. Fundraising at the Thames Valley Property Awards over the last six years has raised over £50,000 for the charity.

It recently opened its new site in Maidenhead for children and their families. Fiona Devine, who set up the charity in memory of her son, said: “What I have learned is that a building is not just bricks, steelworks and roof tiles. Buildings help us create special memories, they protect us and they have an identity within a community.”

She told the audience: “You have helped us create a home from home, so our children have a sense of belonging and feel safe. They make memories here and are sheltered, as are their families. Your incredible help over the last six years has resulted in a staggering amount of donations.”

For a full list of award winners and finalists, plus all the photos: go to our Thames Valley Property Awards site.


Offices Consultancy of the Year

Based on research from CoStar, this category ranks consultancies by number and total volume of deals in the qualifying period.

Winner: Lambert Smith Hampton

“Absolutely delighted that we’ve won both the number of deals and square footage categories. It was a great team effort – we have a very strong agency team across our four Thames Valley offices. It’s a challenging market, but we still managed to secure some great results for our clients. We are always striving to be the best in the region and I think transactions like the Station Hill and Hive 3 purchases reflect that.” Oliver Wilson, associate director, building consultancy, Lambert Smith Hampton

Industrial/Logistics Property Consultancy of the Year

Based on research from CoStar, this category ranks consultancies by number and total volume of deals in the qualifying period.

Winner: JLL

“Our success in winning both categories is down to the size of our team, our resources and our coverage. We handle instructions from 500 to 100,000 square feet. Many people think larger corporations only look at instructions of a certain size, but we are all about focusing on smaller businesses, letting space that helps them grow, and hopefully they will come back to us. We’ve got a young team who are very hands-on and good at building relationships.” Sarah Downes, director, JLL, Heathrow and West London team

Property Client Service

This award is open to all property companies (including professionals, developers, contractors, and architects) and celebrates the ability to take a client’s brief and ensure it is correctly managed and serviced.

Winner:  Haslams Chartered Surveyors

“We’ve been the letting agent for Suttons Business Park in Reading for over 10 years. It’s a big team effort where we provide multiple services. Importantly, that has included supporting them through tough times in the recession. Our team has different skill sets to deliver unrivalled levels of service and our good local knowledge benefits the client.” Neil Seager, partner, Haslams Chartered Surveyors

Business Park Innovation

This award recognises the role the parks play in the region’s economy and celebrates the ability of the developer, owner or management team to create a sustainable environment.

Winner: Innovation Catalyst Thames Valley Science Park

“We identified a gap in the market in terms of delivering genuinely supportive business space for laboratories and innovation companies. New and spin-out businesses, in particular, often need nurturing to grow. We are playing right in the heart of the UK’s industrial strategy. It’s important for us to make the Science Park unique from regular business parks, so we can deliver a platform for the growth of these innovative businesses.” Chris Reeve, managing director, Thames Valley Science Park, and property service director, University of Reading

Town/City of the Year

This award goes to a town or city that is implementing a growth strategy, enhancing its brand and encouraging investment and re-investment.

Winner: Reading

“Absolutely delighted. Reading has had a great year with a lot of things happening and a lot of interest from the property world. We have worked hard in developing support for local businesses, especially in the central retail area and around the Abbey quarter and Forbury area. We are super excited about the Station Hill development, the area around Hosier Street and the former prison site. Our Vision 2050 strategy is all about delivering a city of green technology, rivers and parks, culture and diversity.” Nigel Horton-Baker, executive director, Reading UK

In-Town Office of the Year

Judges look at how the design of the office workplace was approached and how it will help achieve genuine productivity gains for occupiers.

Winner: The Future Works

“We are the developer of The Future Works and are really proud have won. It’s very pleasing for the development to be recognised. There are a huge number of hidden gems in Slough and the fundamentals for the town are fantastic – that’s one of the reasons why we are operating here. This is the first of three phases of The Future Works. Its location near the railway station is hugely important, as is the focus on public space and wellbeing with its communal roof area.” Ben Cartwright, senior development manager, U+I

Managing Agent of the Year

This award goes to a company managing a growing portfolio of properties.

Winner: Encore Estate Management

“It’s the first time we’ve entered these awards and we’re delighted to win, especially in front of such an amazing audience of colleagues. One of the services that sets us apart is our online portal that allows customers easy access to their accounts and the information they want. Our ARMA-Q consumer protection accreditation is the highest standard there has ever been in the industry. For us, it’s all about providing high levels of customer service and adhering to them.” Neil Robinson, owner, Encore Estate Management

Young Property Person of the Year (under 35)

Highly Commended: Chloe Sellars, Inland Homes

Winner: Kieran Webber, Page Hardy Harris

“I joined the firm from school and they sponsored me through my degree. So I was thrown in at the deep end and got lots of hands-on experience from a young age. It was a case of sink or swim, which makes the learning process a lot quicker. There was very strong competition in this category and I wasn’t expecting to win, so I’m absolutely delighted. I spent three years in our Bracknell office and have been in Maidenhead for the last two-and-a-half years. We’re pushing into Slough, Windsor and High Wycombe, so I’m closely involved in driving our expansion.” Kieran Webber, senior surveyor, Page Hardy Harris

Fast-Rising Property Business

The aim of this award is to recognise growing stars who are making their mark in either commercial or residential sectors.

Highly Commended: Active Workplace Solutions

Winner: Curve Workplaces

“We’ve built on the hard work of our first couple of years. We were nominated for this award last year, so it was nice to go one better this time. While we’ve been growing rapidly one of our biggest focuses has been on recruiting the right people who are the right fit, ahead of when we need them. What has pleased me most is seeing our team develop. We also try and understand our clients’ needs, like Make-A-Wish UK. I’m delighted they won the Workplace Award. They are a great client, with a great cause and have a great work environment in central Reading.” Michael Potter, managing director, Curve Workplaces

Property Law Firm of the Year

This award is for a law firm whose property team has enjoyed an exceptional year, either in terms of volume of work, quality of instructions, or both.

Winner: Herrington Carmichael

“We’re delighted to win, especially was we were up against such good firms. We were highly commended last year and we’re glad to have made that extra step this time. We had a record year with a lot big residential deals and a lot of activity in our secured lending service. We also maintained our client service levels and consistency during such a busy year. It’s a challenging market so you have to just get out there and work a bit harder to bring in the business.” Tim Hardesty, partner, real estate department, Harrington Carmichael

Development of the Year

This award focus on non-residential developments either recently completed or with consent to be built in the near future.

Winner: Reading Gateway

Residential Development of the Year

Winner: Thameside, Windsor

“Thameside was challenging in terms of its construction and the uniqueness of Windsor with the castle close to it. Sustainability is important to us and the architect we brought in re-used existing materials from the original building on the site, as well as materials from sustainable sources. It’s been a pleasure for the whole team to work on this project. Thameside is a feather in our cap and we’re proud that we were able to add to Windsor’s charm.” Stewart Kirk, regional managing director for the Thames Valley, Shanly Homes

Workplace Award

This new award recognises exciting workplaces that contribute to business success.

Winner: Make-A-Wish UK

“We’re absolutely thrilled to win this award. We are so happy with the design and layout of our new office in Thames Tower in Reading. For us, it’s vital to have somewhere that is accessible for families, volunteers and our staff. We have lift access, wide spaces and child-friendly play areas. When we are granting wishes that take place in our office we need to look at things from a child’s point of view. Our staff really like the space with hotdesking for agile working and it’s easy for different teams to collaborate and work together.” Sarah Shearman, senior community engagement manager, Make-A-Wish UK

Property Deal of the Year

This award focuses on headline deals in the past year.

Winner: Station Hill, Reading

Callum Thorneycroft, Managing Director of MGT Investment Management, commented on behalf of Station Hill’s joint owners:
“We acquired the site in June 2018 having seen a once in a generation opportunity to deliver a best in class regeneration project which taps into the vast potential of this already impressive and ambitious area. Station Hill will deliver a landmark £750 million development and the new gateway to the town that Reading deserves.
“As a truly mixed-use destination, it will become a new town quarter that fuses contemporary living, working, leisure and open community space. The vision for the whole Station Hill site is to be a transformative project for Reading, creating a focal point for the town through substantial investment in new public spaces and a mix of new residential, commercial, retail and leisure uses.”

Housebuilder of the Year

Highly Commended:
Spitfire Bespoke Homes

Winner: Shanly Homes

“We’re extremely pleased to win, especially given the quality of the other finalists. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary, so winning this award is great news for the company. Our Thames Valley team puts in an immense effort and are strong in all areas. The whole team pulls together from land buying to builds, sales, and customer care.” Stewart Kirk, regional managing director for the Thames Valley, Shanly Homes

Outstanding contribution

This special award is for a stand-out person who has made their mark in property and, just as importantly, has been involved with the promotion of the Thames Valley as a great place in which to do business.

The winner has been a chartered surveyor for 38 years and with Campbell Gordon for 29 years. He has been involved in some of the biggest and most important office schemes in Reading, including Green Park and Forbury Place. He is a mentor to young people coming into the profession and has trained many surveyors over the years. He is described as being “an excellent teacher and adviser with great integrity, thoroughly likable and pleasure to deal with”.

Winner: Keith Wise of Campbell Gordon

“Reading has massive potential. That was recognised by Ian Campbell many years ago. When I came from London to work for him I felt I was involved in something special. It’s been great to see the town grow and thrive over the years and to have been part of its development.

The most important thing for me is the relationships I have with my colleagues and all the people I work with. Without doubt, property is a people business. That’s the bit I have really enjoyed. Green Park is an amazing development to work on, especially as I have seen it grow from agricultural land to what it is now. It has been a massive privilege for me. Working on Forbury Place and Apex Plaza has also been fantastic.” Keith Wise, director, Campbell Gordon