I’ve always been passionate about the built environment and particularly enjoy the business aspects of property, so when the opening came up to join the Deeley Group as a graduate I knew it was a great opportunity to make my mark in the industry.
I completed a Business and Economics undergraduate degree at a business school in London and then a postgraduate degree in International Real Estate at Bartlett School, UCL.
Ahead of coming to London, I had actually considered studying architecture. But I think I wanted to do something more entrepreneurial, so taking the development route into property seemed perfect for me.
After graduation, you spend days searching for graduate positions online and sifting through what might be the right fit.
The job description for the position at Deeley jumped off the page. I knew straight away that I would get to build broad experience in the role and it wouldn’t be so ‘limited’ as other positions.
While some graduate roles see you focused primarily on land search or valuations, the position at Deeley encompassed quantity surveying, urban planning, construction, finance, marketing, project management and even site visits, Covid permitting!
I’m now five months in to my Deeley career and I already feel like I’m developing a well-rounded skill set.
Real estate development is a complex, lengthy and risky process and to be successful it’s crucial to have an understanding of the whole process and that is what I’m looking to build in these first two years.
While residential is my main interest, I get the chance to be involved in large scale commercial, retail, healthcare and affordable living projects.
With the Deeley Group being an SME, I’m also presented with the chance to learn off individuals with vast industry experience.
On a regular day sitting in the office with development manager Dean Weldon and joint managing director Eleanor Deeley, you learn a lot.
There aren’t many graduates out there that get the chance to learn directly from someone who has achieved as much as Eleanor has – whether that be on how to conduct yourself, or tips and tricks on how to tackle certain issues.
Being able to work closely with estimators, architects, site managers and engineers has been very valuable and I’m thankful for their support and time they take to explain whenever needed.
Their experience has given me a broader understanding of what clients want and how we can support them to achieve their goals.
I’m keen to help out wherever I can in the business and looking forward to soon leading on smaller projects of my own. I’ve definitely got the property bug!
Some days I spend hours searching for land, finding opportunities, and identifying villages which might be primed for development.
The next step will be to get my professional RICS accreditation, which I have now enrolled in, and ticking off the various proficiencies to achieve that.
Property is still a people business and building close connections with people is important. I’ve been attending several networking events to help build up my contact list.
I’ve had a lot of opportunities to put what I have learned in my university studies into practice.
I’m really enjoying my time here, I enjoy coming into the office every day and working with my colleagues to overcome different challenges.
I feel like Deeley is the perfect place to learn and start a career in property.
Midlands-based Deeley Construction has started work on Bloor Homes’ new purpose-built 18,000 sq ft regional office, replacing the company’s Furrowfield Park office – which has been its home for the last 14 years.
Deeley Construction, which is headquartered in Coventry, is completing the two-storey development to BREEAM ‘Very Good’ status.
Plans include a belt of trees and a native species hedgerow being planted on the southern side of the development, with 66 car-parking spaces, with 30% of these offering EV charging points.
The new office will facilitate the growth of the Bloor Homes workforce and create further job opportunities in the Tewkesbury Borough over the next five years.
Steve Roberts, Regional Managing Director at Bloor Homes, said: “Bloor has successfully operated from our Furrowfield Park premises for over 14 years, during which time we have delivered a number of high-quality residential developments within the Western region as a whole and Tewkesbury Borough in particular.
“However, we have now outgrown our current premises and even with the introduction of flexible working arrangements, the constrained office space and car-parking limitations are preventing future growth and job creation.
“The move will also provide a regional training centre for our site-based staff.
“It’s important to us that we continue to contribute to the local economy and its economic wellbeing – and building our new regional office in the Tewkesbury Borough allows us to do just that.
“Many of our office-based staff are local residents and through our other activities in the area we in-directly support a large number of jobs in the local construction sector and associated supply chain.
“The location of our new office will allow more employees to find alternative methods of travel due to the reduced commute distance and flexible-working means that arrivals and departure times for staff are staggered, subsequently reducing the amount of peak-time traffic.”
Steve Turner, Construction Director at Deeley Construction, added: “We are pleased to have started work on-site for this sustainable new office for one of the UK’s largest housebuilders.
“We are using our internal expertise and external energy consultants to deliver this as a low-carbon facility, which will support both Deeley Group and Bloor Homes in reaching net zero carbon targets.
“Our on-site team are taking appropriate measure to ensure limited disruption to the nearby residents and the project is targeted for completion in October 2022.”
PICTURE CAPTION: From left to right – Eamonn Gorman (Deeley Construction), Jonathan Wood (Stoas Architects), Steve Roberts (Bloor Homes Western MD), Steve Turner (Deeley Construction), Arat Patel (Stoas Architects) and Keith Warburton (MDA Consulting Ltd).
Clearly, to assign the changes in our shopping habit purely to Covid, would be disingenuous.
Significant change in the world of retail was underway long before we first heard of the emergence of the virus, but, if nothing more, it has accelerated a trend that was emerging strongly.
The decline of the High Street has run in parallel with the rise of out of town shopping. There are a number of factors for that.
Firstly, as inflationary pressures continue to grow and household incomes are squeezed, people tend to spend a higher proportion of their income on the essentials, and less on leisure shopping.
Out of town developments cater more for that sort of retail with a high presence of food, carpets, furniture, technology and DIY.
City centre retails needs a number of things to happen in terms of planning and an overhaul of the rating system for it to revitalise and be lifted from the doldrums.
There needs to be a fresh approach on planning to encourage more change of use to residential and increase footfall. It needs to be far more flexible if we are to see real change, and that is what is needed.
Locally, for example, there is a plan in Leamington – a town which to an extent bucks this trend – to convert a former M&S store into offices and potentially bring more than 200 workers into the town centre. That will be a pattern across the country.
We are almost getting to a stage where town centre retail value has dropped to a point – sometimes by 60-70 per cent – to enable that regeneration to happen.
The attitude has to change from being one of the institutional investor who wants 25 years rent from a large anchor store to a more active management which drives more place-making and shows an increased entrepreneurial and flexible approach.
You find that that happening in parts of London and, locally, with FarGo Village in Coventry – a more vibrant and changing scene. Social patterns are changing and retail has to keep pace. Young people don’t always want to own a car and go to a department store, but they want to drink good coffee, practice yoga, be vegan and play crazy golf.
There is a constant search for the next experience, which is why pop-ups do so well, and why there are now specialist agencies advising investors and large institutional funders in how they can adjust to meet the trends.
That means we may well end up with a model that has two very distinct ends. The one is almost wholly leisure and experiential, while the other – mostly out of town – is very essential and efficient.
We have done a great deal of work in the latter end of the market and have recently built Sofology and Lidl stores in Birmingham. Quite often now, a food store is the anchor of a wider development which contains those essentials, and those larger units with car parking will be more appealing to those who remain Covid cautious.
We have a track record in creating out-of-town stores across the country and we are expecting that more conversion work will come through the pipeline
The cost of that is always quite high so value levels still have to fall to make it work economically, but that is starting to happen. The return the office, which appears to be accelerating, will help the High Street leisure businesses.
There will be further twists and turns in all areas of our lives as we emerge further from the last two years, but there is increasing clarity around the future of retail and we believe, as a business, we are well placed to serve both ends of the new market.
Eleanor Deeley, joint managing director
Richard Duxbury, senior design and build manager at Deeley Construction, has become the 10th recipient of the Gary Neville Award, set up as a lasting legacy to one of the firm’s finest ever employees.
The Gary Neville Award was created in 2012 in tribute to the former Deeley Group contracts manager and is voted for in-house, crowning the staff member who never hesitates to go above and beyond.
Richard’s coronation is a significant one, as his award win marks a decade of the initiative’s existence.
He said: “To win the Gary Neville Award at Deeley Group is a special moment for me personally. I’d like to thank all my colleagues, both in the office and on site. It’s been a joy to work with you these last eight years.
“I unfortunately didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Gary, but his achievements speak for themselves. When somebody wants to describe how things should be done from a construction point of view within the organisation, Gary is always the benchmark. His mentality continues in Deeley Group today, through the approaching of challenges head on, working together as part of a collective effort and producing results.
“To receive recognition whilst we are working in a such a tough environment at the moment, and to feel that your efforts are making a difference, is a great feeling. I’m very pleased to have picked up this prestigious award.
The award honours Gary Neville, who rose through the ranks of the company. He began his career as an apprentice, eventually leading some of the firm’s major projects, including the development of Belgrade Plaza.
Gary passed away in 2011 but his spirit lives on with the yearly award, which is presented to the employee who has displayed standout commitment levels in their role within the Deeley Group portfolio over the past year.
Richard Duxbury has helped progress the design and build element of the business in close to eight years with the Deeley Group, leading to his receiving of the Gary Neville Award.
Peter Deeley, joint managing director of Deeley Group, said: “Richard is an extremely well-regarded member of our team, with so many of his values matching those that Gary himself possessed.
“Over the past decade everyone at the company has embraced the award, as we remember Gary and the popular, talented and larger than life figure that he was.
“Whilst employed by the Deeley Group, Richard has carried himself with great integrity and worked diligently, building a reputation as an approachable and gifted colleague who is always the first to lend a hand.
“No problem is too great for Richard, as his multi-disciplinary skillset and reliable nature enables him to complete a variety of tasks to his usual high standard.
“We would like to thank Richard for his continued service to the Deeley Group. His hard work is valued across the organisation and he fully deserves this year’s award.”
Picture caption: Gail Duxbury, Richard Duxbury, Julie Whelan and Peter Deeley
The Housing 21 team was joined by representatives from Deeley Construction, Oxfordshire County Council and South and Vale District Council, and Osbornes to celebrate the occasion.
Poppy Meadows is Housing 21’s first Extra Care scheme in Didcot and will provide much needed accommodation for local people over the age of 55. The development will offer 60 apartments available for social rent and a further 20 available for shared ownership. Poppy Meadows has been designed to promote independent living in a community setting, with a care team on-site 24/7 to deliver planned care packages if needed.
The new homes are being built in the Vale of White Horse district and are being supported with £2.4m funding from the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal to help deliver affordable homes for the community.
Residents will benefit from a range of on-site facilities, including a café/bistro and hair salon, which are also accessible to visitors and the local community. There is also a residents’ lounge, activity room, and communal gardens for residents and their guests to enjoy.
Debbie Hope, Head of Development at Housing 21 said: “We are delighted to reach this important milestone in the development of Poppy Meadows. The scheme will provide much needed affordable homes for older people, with on-site, tailored care and support packages available to help residents live independently for as long as possible. It will also provide space for residents to stay socially connected, safely.”
Eleanor Deeley, Joint Managing Director of the Deeley Group, said: “It’s fantastic to see the development hit this major milestone and to celebrate the great strides our on-site team have made over recent months.
“We have been working in partnership with Housing 21, Quattro and Osbornes on the Poppy Meadows development, and it is these strong partnerships that have enabled construction to progress on track despite current pressures and issues presented by the market and supply chain.
“Our team will continue to work with the local community in Didcot to minimise disruption to the local area on what is a logistically challenging site.”
Cllr Judy Roberts, Cabinet Member for Development and Infrastructure at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “I came along to the groundbreaking ceremony last year, so it is exciting to see the construction work completed so quickly, ready for the final phase to start.
“We are delighted we’ve been able to help bring new homes that people in our district need. These Extra Care homes are in the heart of the community on Great Western Park, giving residents their own independence while still being able to receive the day-to-day support they need.”
Poppy Meadows is set to open in early 2023 and the scheme’s show home will be open from late Summer 2022 Housing 21 is currently taking expressions of interest from those interested in buying or renting an apartment. Any enquiries should be directed to the New Home Team on email@example.com or 0345 608 4021, Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.
For more information about Housing 21, visit www.housing21.org.uk
Photo caption: Lorraine Jenner, Regional Operations Manager at Housing 21; Judy Roberts, South and Vale District Council; Eleanor Deeley, Deeley Group; Lisa Ord, Osbornes.
It sees the companies, which are headquartered under a mile away from each other, work together for the first time since Deeley Construction built Burbidge & Son’s distribution centre a decade ago.
Moreton Edge is a development of 16 new homes, ranging from two-bedroom cottages to a three-storey, five-bedroom home, all built around a private garden and green space.
Kitchen Makers’ kitchens are all handmade made locally in Coventry and the first of the kitchens has now been installed at Moreton Edge.
The high-specification kitchens are made with solid wood and will be hand-painted one of 16 different tints and hues by request of the home owner – giving each home a distinct identity.
Eleanor Deeley, joint managing director at the Deeley Group, said: “Burbidge & Son is a highly-respected name and their Kitchen Makers brand slots in perfectly with the bespoke nature of our Moreton Edge development.
“Burbidge & Son is a company that is steeped in history and holds many of the same values as Deeley Group.
“It makes it even better that the company is based a stone’s throw away from our headquarters in Coventry and this is a great example of two local companies working together to deliver on a project.”
Ben Burbidge, managing director at Burbidge & Son, added: “We’re delighted to be working with Deeley Homes to introduce our Kitchen Makers’ products into the wonderful new development at Moreton-in-Marsh.
“In the past, we had been the client in the relationship between Burbidge and Deeley, but that has now flipped and we are now doing work for them.
“While our core business is selling kitchens through independent retailers, we have been expanding our offer when it comes to new-build developments.
“The first kitchen is now installed and it looks great. We have been in talks with a number of the buyers at the development about their kitchens and look forward to working with them more closely to create the perfect kitchen for their home at Moreton Edge.”
Moreton Edge is being marketed by Oliver Knight New Homes.
For more information on the development and remaining properties visit www.deeley.co.uk/homes/our-developments/moreton-edge/
To find out more about Kitchen Makers visit www.burbidgekitchenmakers.co.uk
PICTURE CAPTION: Eleanor Deeley and Ben Burbidge at Moreton Edge, Moreton-in-Marsh.