Hi Amanda, firstly congratulations on your recent promotion to Director for the South East! Thanks for sitting down with us today, could you start by telling us how you got started at Generator and a bit more about your role here?
Hi, thank you very much it’s really exciting and a great way to start the year! I joined Generator 2 years ago and was brought in to acquire new projects in the South East – this encompasses a wide area from the M3 round to Suffolk, including Essex, Kent, Sussex and the Home Counties. I identify opportunities in this area, appraise them and negotiate to acquire the site; generally the sites I work to acquire are complex, brownfield sites. Almost every site we look at is without planning so once we have secured a site my next step is to pull together the professional team to obtain planning for the site. Once we get to the point of building out a scheme I will look at securing the build contractors and manage the project through to the sale of the last unit.
So how did you get started in property? And what was it like being a woman in such a male-dominated industry?
I’ve always been around the industry as I am a third generation chartered surveyor in my family – I always say I grew up on the end of a tape measure! When I first started in my career I was the first graduate female surveyor to be employed at Legal & General, it was a different world! It’s strange looking back and remembering being the only woman in every meeting, and now I’m leading projects. Having said that the industry is still incredibly male-dominated, currently only 13% of surveyors are women and of the approximately 2.5 million people in the construction sector, only 11% of those are women!
You recently secured your first project at Generator, congratulations! Could you tell us a bit about that journey?
Yes we did! We have recently secured a site on Eastgate Street in Lewes, it was an off-market opportunity to purchase the land unconditionally with a view for future development. The site is at the heart of Lewes, a historic town in the south of England and provides a really great opportunity for mixed-used development.
That sounds really exciting! And what does the future hold for Eastgate Street?
It’s definitely a great project. We are still in the process of securing planning so nothing is final yet but we believe we can get the best use for the site by securing planning for a residential-led, mixed-use regeneration scheme comprising of a few houses, around 30 apartments and some commercial space fronting onto the high street. We recently had our public consultation which went well and we are currently gathering feedback from the local community. It’s important that our projects add value to the local area and the community that live there so the feedback we receive is vital in allowing us to do that.
What’s next on the horizon for you, have you got anything in the pipeline you can give us some insight into?
I’m working on a few new projects at the moment. Most notably is St Leonards in Hastings, it’s a project I brought with me to Generator and I’ve been working on it for over 4 years. That’s another really exciting mixed-use project that will include residential properties, commercial units, artist’s studios and beach huts.
Wow, that sounds like you’re working on some really interesting projects!
Yes it’s going to be another great one! I have been working on St Leonards for a long time so it’s great to see all that work come together in such an exciting way.
I’ve really enjoyed my time at Generator so far, the expertise among the team is amazing and the collaborative way of working helps us get the best out of the projects we work on. I’m working on a number of other opportunities in the pipeline, the company has a really exciting future and I’m looking forward to securing more sites for us to work on in the years to come.
That all sounds fantastic, thank you for taking the time to sit down and chat today Amanda.
No problem at all.