It’s been a busy week and I am in the final preparations for MIPIM. So busy I didn’t have time to write for my own blog! But I did do a guest blog for my friends at Cartwright Communications… Click below for the link!
I have spent a fair proportion of my working life inspecting roof coverings! It can be a challenging part of the job.
Sometimes it was a contractor who would meet you on site and he would announce with glee that access was via a triple extender ladder. The fire service would have palpitations at the Heath Robinson nature of these contraptions. Then of late we have powered access platforms – like something from Thunderbirds. Equally scary.
Recently a number of companies have set up using a telescopic pole to get a camera high above the ground – in fact these are really effective. They are however ‘fixed’.
If you are a techie person you may have noticed a new phenomena in the last year or so – that of quadrocopters. These gadgets allow a small camera – usually a GoPro underneath and have a flying time of a few minutes. They are a bit ‘flimsy’.
But, at the weekend, I was at The Photography Show at the NEC and saw some of the latest offerings.Two caught my eye – these can mount serious SLR cameras – the QU4D X – pictured is available now for a cool £8,500.
At this price point they are still an expensive tool but as the price drops it will perhaps soon be perfectly normal for surveyors to use these to gain ‘access’ to high points on buildings. Sure beats a long ladder on a windy day!
I have been a little distracted and ‘off message’ for the last few posts – apologies.
I am keen to get us back onto the Nottingham Business Plan. We have explored the SWOT analysis and I have tried to identify some of the great things we have. I still have a few more (If you know of some, let me know!)
But in the last week I have had reason to dig out my work file on the City of Cork. You might recall that I was in Cork last May – I blogged about them here. In fact the thing that struck me most was that Cork is home to nearly 600 independent shops – they are wary of corporates.The Costa was pushed to the back of town.
I have noticed a trend in Nottingham in the last few years that the number of independent shops seems to be on the rise. Although it is fact that we have too many shops (evidenced by the vacancy rate) – the fact that there is an emerging independent scene is really good news for the City in my view.
Independents can bring something different – they help us differentiate by their very being. What we need to do is glue them all together to create a cohesive city-wide offer. There are some ideas to do this – which we are hoping to bring forward with the Creative Quarter.
To some small extent there has been a start made by Pi Street – which has targeted the independents. You can read about the project here. This is a great start! We need to build on it…
In the last few weeks as the employment rate has dropped there has been talk of an increase in interest rates. The Bank of England Base Rate has been at 0.5% since March 2009. As the saying goes – it can only go up.
This could be quite worrying. In the last few years mortgages have gone back up to 95% and people have borrowed as much as they possibly can. In London and the South East some of the figures look terrifying!
The average UK house now stands at just below £178,000 – nearly 10% higher than a year ago – and just shy of the 2007 peak.
The problem is that people have grown used to this low interest rate world and when stretched now – this could be a car crash waiting to happen when Interest Rates rise. There are some commentators who think that the ‘safe’ amount people spend on their mortgages could easily double from the current 35% of take home pay.
It is hard to see how we are going to avoid this potential nightmare. House prices seem to be rising inexorably – but wages aren’t and the interest rate will go up…
I wonder if we will ever learn?
I’m at a meeting today about the Private Rented Sector. It is about to become much more attractive for lots of reasons!
More on the PRS over the next few weeks.
Late on Friday night we learned that my firm had won the EGi most active firm in the East Midlands. The EGi ‘most active agent’ is the most sought after award. It is the seventh year we have won it.
EGi, the online arm of property bible Estates Gazette, published its comprehensive list of the companies responsible for the most transactions across all property types across all regions of the UK.
It is interesting to note the National award winners:
Overall Lettings – Jones Lang LaSalle
Investments – Jones Lang LaSalle
Office Lettings – CBRE
Industrial Lettings – Jones Lang LaSalle
Retail Lettings – Cushman & Wakefield
Leisure & Hotel Deals – Christie + Co
Both Jones Lang LaSalle and CBRE are American owned. It is interesting to note that outside London JLL topped none of the league tables. CBRE won in London and the North West.
The regional winners:
East Midlands – Innes England
East of England – Barker Storey Matthews
North East – Sanderson Weatherall
North West – CBRE
Northern Ireland – BTW Shiells
Scotland – Ryden
South East – Lambert Smith Hampton
South West – Alder King
Wales – Lambert Smith Hampton
West Midlands – Harris Lamb
Yorkshire – PPH Commercial
We are a bit pleased with ourselves.
It hasn’t been a great few weeks for losing people I know. Three in fact.
But Jim Taylor deserves a special mention. He sadly passed away a week ago. There has been plenty written about him both locally and nationally. You can read the obituaries in the Nottingham Post here and in The Guardian here.
But a group of Nottingham folk managed to collect over a period of time some of the comments he handed out. I really mean ‘insults’. They are lovingly known as Jimisms. It would be a fitting tribute to Jim if you were able to weave them into your everyday dealings. They need to be delivered with precision and love. Some are true gems.
‘He is coming back to Nottm in November – assume the brace position’
‘you could give everyone a seminar on all you know about housing policy while I nip to the loo’
‘That doesn’t change the price of fish’
‘I wouldn’t send him to post a letter’
‘They’ve put their lids on top of their pens’
‘He couldn’t sell you something you wanted’
‘He is banging on the window with a sponge’
‘One of us looks very seductive but I fear it is not me’
‘I think I am a bit confused and I may have had a diary malfunction’
‘You can slap my legs when you see me next time’
‘You could see the hot air rising out of his trousers’
‘She was brutally ugly’
‘Its amateur night there at the moment …’
‘The cogs were spinning but the lights had gone out’
‘My response rhymes with Duck and Cough’
I wasn’t spared – in his last tweet at our Market Insite event he commented, “At the Innes England Insite event and can I say how radiant and plumtuous Tim Garratt is looking“.
Just wait until I see him… We’ll all miss you Jim.
You will know that in the Grimsey Review much was made of the digital revolution. The change that we have seen in the last 50 years and the likely pace of change in the the next 50 (or even 5!)
At the weekend I had need to go into my loft – a ‘job’ at the low end of the relish scale. In there there are thousands of photographs. It’s great looking at them – tiny little 5″x3″ prints. Some a little bigger when I could afford to have them printed at 10″x8″.
Today printing seems old hat. We take digital pictures and have them on our laptops or iPads. Of course you can get a digital book printed easily through Apple or Blurb. This was unheard of 20 years ago!
Then I look around the house – we have music streamed via a SONOS system (superb) – nearly all of my music is digitised – well over 55,000 tracks of music. Apple TV shows photographs on TV.
And in the last week I have a ChromeCast from America. This £24 device plugs into your TV and ‘sits’ on your wireless network – I can stream YouTube to it – or Netflix. The list of features is growing.
There is no doubt that this digital world is the way forward. It won’t be long, hopefully, when it is all compatible with everything else.
And this is how our Cities need to be.
When I was in Canada and New York recently you begin to realise how much we rely on ‘wifi’. My son, Jak, would have generally established in a restaurant or coffee shop if there was free wifi within seconds. Free wifi at decent download speed is going to be critical if we are to make out Cities truly connected in the future.
There is one analogue thing I cling onto – my vinyl records. I bought two in New York – The Foals album Holy Fire and a repressing of Aztec Cameras debut album High Land Hard Rain- including the superb ‘Oblivious’. But even these albums come with a free digital download!
There’s a great new talk on TED at the moment – it is all about leaders – and what makes great leaders stand out. Rosalinde Torres highlights three traits of great leaders and the third trait resonates – a lot.
She posed a question:
Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful
She then talks about how some people just “go along to get along” and adopt a safe passage. People do what they are comfortable with. But this is not the way forward.
I remember when I worked at Savills – we had just announced great results and the share price went down. I couldn’t believe it – I had a lot of shares! I was told that the reason was that ‘we were seen as having arrived and the market preferred to your be travelling‘.
We need to take risks and we need to challenge the stays quo.
This is particularly true for Nottingham. It is particularly true for our High Streets. We need to think differently.
But there is a lesson and a warning at the end of the talk – that leaders who seek change need to be emotionally strong – as those who challenge can be ridiculed as being reckless and naive. It is going to take stamina it seems to get the our end goal. I’m ok with that.
It was interesting that Rosalinde also thinks that it will be not be the ‘usual suspects’ who help…
This is not a blog post about Nottingham. This a blog post about a company I have used a lot when I travel abroad. Purple Business Parking at Heathrow.
Rather foolishly I had a cash bag of change in the car – I use it for car park meters. When I came back I discovered that it was rather lacking in cash. In fact all but £2 had been removed in pound coins. The other small change had been left. Before I went away I estimate there was probably in excess of £35 in £2 and £1 coins.
Of course this is my stupidity and I can’t prove it. I am 100% certain money was removed from my car – and they are the only people who have had access to it
There was another odd thing too. There was a bottle of aftershave wedged in the side pocket – driver side. I tried to pick it up when I came back and the top was missing. It’s not in the car. It was also in the ‘wrong’ part of the front pocket. It’s trivial – but frustrating again. The top was definitely on the bottle when I left the car with them.
So, I emailed them and they were impressive in their response – 45 minutes to say,
Many thanks for your email. Please be advised that we have passed on your
email to our customer relations department and someone will be in
communication with you soon.
Purple Parking Ltd
That was nearly two weeks ago – and despite a reminder from me there is no reply. That is worse in some ways that the theft of my money!
So just a warning – don’t trust these people. And never leave the Brut 33 Special edition in your car.
I know how stupid I was by the way – no need to help me on that point!
On Friday night last I stepped back into the studios of Nottingham Hospitals Radio for the first time in about 24 years! This was place I had spent 11 years of my life at. I, along with my wife (and some of our best friends) worked as volunteers at the station.
Those days are apparently regarded as the golden years by many people.
Although the Station was run on a voluntary basis the ‘output’ was far from amateur. In fact, some of the presenters from that era have gone on to make successful professional careers in both radio and TV. Not me obviously! But the discipline of radio didn’t do me any harm – and I can occasionally dig out the interview techniques.
This year Nottingham Hospitals Radio will celebrate it’s 40th Birthday. We are all getting together at the end of March at Wollaton Hall. People are digging out some amazing photographs and momento’s. I have found some cassettes of ‘log tapes’. I just need somewhere to play them!
So on Friday last I was invited to be a guest on Rajiv’s Friday show. This was as part of the celebrations. But it was a different invite as my son Jak flirted with the station for about a year, so there were two generations of Garratt on the radio.
I really enjoyed getting back in the studio – I had forgotten how much fun radio presenting is. We cantered through two hours talking all manner of things – music, travel, Nottingham and memories from those formative years. There was also a moment of self indulgence – being permitted three songs. That didn’t take long to choose – Bowie – Young Americans. Squeeze – Pulling Mussels and BareNakedLadies – Brian Wilson.
It was great fun, NHR still struggles to survive – especially I suspect against a backdrop of much more choice for people. But they do offer a great service to people in Nottingham.