On Tuesday 9th October, Ellisons Solicitors, Colchester Borough Council and Fenn Wright Chartered Surveyors, hosted a seminar for some seventy plus delegates in the property development sector.

The event was held at firstsite for the second year running. During a continued period of uncertainty and change, the seminar provided an update on recent developments and provided a forum for local developers to share their views about the property development sector.

The seminar was chaired by Guy Longhurst of Ellisons, and speakers included Roger Hayward, Senior Partner of Fenn Wright who discussed ‘Planning for Gain – Paying for Viability’, as well as guest speakers Ian Butt, of Capita Symonds and Robert Ashton, The Barefoot Entrepreneur.

Guy Longhurst, Senior Partner at Ellisons Solicitors was pleased with the audience’s response to the event: “Property continues to be a barometer for the economy and indications are that we still have hard times ahead. It is positive for the property development sector to get together from time to time and focus on what needs to be done, what can be done and what is being done. We need to work together, that’s councillors, developers and property professionals, to help stimulate Colchester’s Economy.”

Roger Hayward stressed the need to strike a balance between the delivery of good quality affordable housing and necessary Community infrastructure and highlighted the problems faced by landowners, developers and policy makers in responding to the Government’s call for an increase in housing numbers. “We need to set priorities and find new ways to fund and deliver viable housing developments”.

Councillor Tim Young, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Community Safety and Culture said there had been some interesting points raised ‘‘which would help inform the review of the Local Plan. The seminar is a useful forum to discuss current issues with all those involved in the property and planning sectors.’’

Delegates filled in a feedback questionnaire on their thoughts regarding the property sector. Over half were feeling more positive about the property sector than they had 12 months ago, but thought there were still rocky times to come.