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Questiontime with Estates Gazette
Brought to you by Estates Gazette

Question Time, Estates Gazette’s premier debate and networking event returns with its biggest line-up of cities yet.

We are pulling together influential people in 10 destinations across the UK and Ireland so you can ask the questions. In the lead up to the General Election in May 2015, there has been huge emphasis on regional growth and finally cities are getting the attention they deserve. Question Time turns up the spotlight.

Save the dates in your diaries now and watch out for panellist and venue announcements, including our London showcase event. And don’t forget to submit your questions. This is your chance to set the agenda.

Watch past Question Time debates

Upcoming events

Leeds Question Time – Thursday 23rd April

Park Plaza Leeds, Boar Lane City Square, LS1 5NS

5.30pm – 6.30pm Drinks | 6.30pm – 7.30pm The debate | 7.30pm onwards, drinks

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Registration now open

Yorkshire now has devolved powers that puts in control of investment decisions on skills, transport, housing and small business support. But the government has stopped short of gifting the region – and Leeds at the heart of it all – jurisdiction over its economic destiny in full.

The city was recently gifted £11m to position itself, along with neighbouring cities, as a major hub for digital industries. And it also has funds now to develop a financial tech incubator. Both offers recognise Leeds’ role in the government’s long-term economic plan.

So what steps must it take to convince the chancellor of its readiness for full fiscal devolution? And until then to what extent can partial devolution spur growth ambitions into action in the property industry?

At Leeds Question Time we find out what the experts think. But it is your questions they will answer, so when you register please submit your ideas. This is your chance to set the agenda.

The panel includes:

  • Bill Hughes, Head of Real Assets, Legal & General Investment Management
  • Simon Sherwood, Partner, Mills & Reeve
  • Mathew Jones, Director – Development, Savills
  • Johnny Caddick, Director, Caddick Developments
  • Chaired by Damian Wild, Editor, Estates Gazette
In partnership with Savills CRS Mills & Reeve

London Question Time – Wednesday 29th April

2 Fitzroy Place, London W1

5.30 – 6.30pm: Drinks | 6.30 – 8.00pm: The Debate | 8.00pm onwards: Food & drinks

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Registration now open

Can London be all things to all people? A place investors will permanently pour their wealth? A perennially enticing destination for people to live and work?

If so, then how?

How can London hold on to its pre-eminent position as a global centre for finance and investment, and where are the emerging opportunities in this highly-regarded world city? Can investment returns be found in its arch retail offering, or developing private rented sector? Is it in its swathes of regeneration potential, or skyline-altering towers?

Perhaps the best opportunities are in smart offices located near sensible transport. What will be the impact of Crossrail?

What will be the impact of politics? Pundits can hardly predict the outcome of the May general election. And what would be the consequences of a Brexit?

Finally, other cities across the UK are committing themselves to serious infrastructure investment. Will the rise of the regions and London’s housing crisis create a brain drain from the UK’s beating heart?

Expect these topics and more to be covered by leading experts at London Question Time. But ultimately it’s you who sets the agenda, so be there to put your questions directly to the panel.


Also coming up in 2015

  • Cardiff - Date TBC

Past events

Aberdeen Question Time 2015

More than 150 guests surged through the doors of the Rox Hotel to discover that, by and large, the impact of the current oil situation may not be as bad as some expect. That was the consensus of an expert panel at Estates Gazette’s Aberdeen Question Time on Wednesday 25 February, held in conjunction with Savills, Aberdeen Asset Management, CRS and UKPP.

It was a debate as insightful as it was entertaining, and when it turned to whether the Granite City had the makings of a world-class city centre, uncomfortably honest, too.

Panellists included:

  • Andrew Creighton, Head of Segregated Property Mandates, Aberdeen Asset Management
  • Mark Fleming, Investment Director / Joint Head of Scottish Region, Savills
  • Jenny Laing, Leader, Aberdeen City Council
  • Nick Hayes, Acquisition and Development Director, Unite Students
  • John Low, Director, Homes for Scotland / Managing Director, Stewart Milne Homes (North Scotland)
  • Chaired by Damian Wild, Editor, Estates Gazette

Watch video

Birmingham Question Time 2015

In Birmingham, people are ready to invest on a speculative basis for the first time in years.

The change in appetite is down to HS2 and a lack of quality space, Sir Albert Bore told 200 people at Birmingham Question Time. Speaking at Estates Gazette’s first debate of the year for the series, the city’s pre-eminent leader also announced he would be making two major announcements shortly, including releasing plans for a new “economic corridor” next month.

And that’s only scratching the surface of what the crowd heard in the theatre of The Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 15th January.

Panellists included:

  • Barry Allen, Head of Birmingham office, Savills
  • Christian Bull, Real Estate Partner, Mills & Reeve
  • Sir Albert Bore, Leader, Birmingham City council
  • Simon Durkin, Head of RE Asset Research and Strategy, Deutsche Bank
  • Glenn Howells, Director, Glenn Howells Architect
  • Chaired by Damian Wild, Editor, Estates Gazette

Watch video

Cambridge Question Time 2014

Cambridge has little to fear from the rise of east London’s Tech City, a gathering of nearly 200 property professionals heard at Estates Gazette’s Question Time.

However, Cambridge needs to take urgent action to improve its strained infrastructure if it is to continue to benefit from the tech boom.The message came loud and clear at the breakfast event, chaired by EG editor Damian Wild, and attended by representatives from the full spectrum of commercial property, who put their own questions directly to the panel, at Clare College on Thursday 4 December.

Panellists included:

    • Rob Sadler, Head of Cambridge Office, Savills
    • Vincenzo Maggio, Partner, Mills & Reeve LLP
    • Edward Skeates, Director of Development, Strategic Land, Grosvenor
    • Andrew Fisher, Senior Associate, David Lock Associates
    • Simon Payne, Director of Environment, Cambridge City Council
    • Chaired by Damian Wild, Editor, Estates Gazette

Watch video

Belfast Question Time 2014

As Estates Gazette launched its first Question Time debate in Belfast last week, the country’s first official business rates revaluation in 13 years was hot off the press.

Nearly 100 people from Belfast’s property industry, representing agents, developers, local government, lawyers and more, braved downpours on the way to the Merchant Hotel on 13 November, to hear the experts’ take on the highly topical issue, as well as incentives for speculative development, obstacles in the way of investment, and growth sectors over the next five years in the Northern Ireland capital.

Panellists included:

    • Ben Turtle, Director, Savills (NI)
    • Craig Logan, Director – Corporate Banking (NI), Bank of Ireland
    • William McCulla, Director for Corporate Finance & Property Solutions, Invest Northern Ireland
    • John Campbell, NI Economics & Business Editor, BBC News
    • Gary McCausland, CEO, The Richland Group
    • Dr Esmond Birnie, Chief Economist, PwC
    • Joanna Robinson, Legal Director, Pinsent Masons
    • Chaired by Damian Wild, Editor, Estates Gazette

Watch video

Manchester Question Time 2014

The great and good of Manchester property convened last week to hear what the experts had to say on the big issues in the North West.

And with Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein making one of his first public appearances since the £1bn devolution package announced, the audience were in for a treat.

Over 140 guests gathered at the People’s History Museum on 6th November to watch the debate, covered in full in the 15th November issue of Estates Gazette.

Panellists included:

  • Jeremy Hinds, Head of Northern Planning, Savills
  • Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief executive, Manchester City Council
  • Tim Heatley, Director, Capital & Centric
  • Caroline Hanratty, Real Estate Partner, Mills & Reeve
  • Jamie Kerr, Head of Regeneration Company Development, HS2 Ltd
  • Chaired by Damian Wild, Editor, Estates Gazette

Watch video

Edinburgh Question Time 2014

Staged one week after the Scottish referendum, the vote was at the top of the agenda for this Edinburgh debate. The consensus was that it had stalled investment into the city, and that the devolution of power from Westminster, promised in the wake of the vote, may do the same, but it was too early to tell. However, the overwhelming message from the debate was the need for Edinburgh to compete ruthlessly for investment against its neighbouring cities.

Edinburgh Question Time was held at the Roxburghe Crowe Plaza on Thursday 25 September, with 100 property professionals turning out to put their questions to the expert panel.

Panellists included:

  • Nick Penny, Director, UK Investment, Savills
  • David Melhuish, Director, Scottish Property Federation
  • Greg Ward, Director Economic Development, Edinburgh City Council
  • Gerry Ferguson, Head of UK Pooled Funds, Aberdeen Asset Management
  • Derek MacKay MSP, Minister for Local Government and Planning
  • Chaired by Damian Wild, Editor, Estates Gazette

Watch video

Leeds Question Time 2014

Two days before throngs of cycling enthusiasts lined the streets of Yorkshire to watch the Tour de France, the Everyman Cinema in Trinity Leeds played host to a peleton of another kind. Property pundits took to the panel at Estates Gazette’s Leeds Question Time on 2 July 2014.

It was a gripping hour-long showcase, with opinions that volleyed between panellists and the 100-strong audience, that had all the elements of a big-screen blockbuster. The debate’s headline message was the importance of transport and connectivity for economic growth, with Leeds City Council’s £250m trolleybus scheme, proving a controversial topic.


  • Simon Lister, Director, UK Investment, Savills
  • Simon Sherwood, Partner, Mills & Reeve
  • Martin Farrington, Director of City Development, Leeds City Council
  • Paul Pavia, Development Manager, MEPC
  • Paul Chapman, Head of Cities and Regions, HS2
  • Ian Morrison, Yorkshire & North East Regional Leader, PwC
  • Chaired by Damian Wild, Editor, Estates Gazette

Watch video

Glasgow Question Time 2014

More than 70 property professionals resisted the temptation to soak up unusually temperate weather to hear how a new breed of buyer has set its sights on Scotland.

That declaration came as Estates Gazette’s Question Time pulled into Glasgow on 18 June, 2014, for a debate that coursed through the topics of east end regeneration, investor sentiment, that thorny issue of independence and much more.


  • Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism 
  • Bruce Patrick, Director, UK Investment, Savills 
  • Ian Manson, Chief Executive, Clyde Gateway 
  • Michael Smart, Development Director, BAM Properties 
  • David Skinner, Partner, KPMG
  • Chaired by Damian Wild, Editor, Estates Gazette
 The event was held at 200 SVS, 200 St Vincent Street Glasgow.

Watch video

Dublin Question Time 2014

Close to 200 movers and shakers in Ireland’s property industry attended Dublin Question Time on the evening of 22 May at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

It was an astounding turnout for our first event in the city, which featured a stellar line-up of panellists. They were optimistic about the return of bank debt, they pointed to clear signs of recovery in the regions, and they told the crowd that development joint ventures with NAMA were imminent.

  • Mary Birmingham, Head of Asset Management, NAMA
  • Paul McDonnell, Head of Property Finance Group, Bank of Ireland
  • John McCartney, Director of Research, Savills
  • Pat Gunne, Managing Director, Green REIT
  • Chaired by Damian Wild, Editor, Estates Gazette

Watch video

Cambridge Question Time 2014

The Cambridge property family descended on Downing College, part of Cambridge University, on the evening of 27 February, eager to hear Astra Zeneca’s plans for its new £330m global research and development headquarters at Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Details of the move came from Andy Williams, the man in charge of moving 2,000 staff into the site by 2016.

The debate, held in association with Mills & Reeve and Savills, also addressed the critical shortage of space in Cambridge, transport infrastructure and it compared the research hubs of Cambridge and London.

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Aberdeen Question Time 2014

Estates Gazette held its inaugural Aberdeen Question on 6th February 2014. The result was a full house and an out-and-out analysis of the Granite City’s biggest business issues from an expert panel.

We juggled with that political hot potato of independence, the issue of congestion emerged, and there was assurance that the private sector is responding to the growing demands of businesses and their people.

More than 100 property professionals poured into Cowdray Hall to quiz the panel on these issues and more.

The panel included:

Barney Crockett, Leader, Aberdeen City Council; Mark Fleming, Investment director / Joint Head of Scottish Region, Savills; Stuart Oag, Director, Drum Property Group; Liam Smyth, Membership Director, Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce; Michael Spence, Partner, Real Estate, Bond Dickinson;  and Carol Benzie, Managing Director, Aberdeen International Airport. It was chaired by Karen Day, Group Online Editor, Estates Gazette.

Watch video

Listen to full podcast

Bristol Question Time 2013

A bumper crowd packed into the Arnolfini on 6th December as a top-flight panel tackled some challenging issues.

On the stage were:

  • George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol
  • Andrew Main, head of Savills, Bristol
  • Gavin Bridge, director of Cubex
  • Ross Polkinghorne, partner, Burges Salmon
  • Tom Beale, financial director, Coexist
  • Chaired by Damian Wild, Editor, Estates Gazette

Watch video

Birmingham Question Time 2013

The EG Question Time roadshow pulled up in Britain’s second city, Birmingham, on the morning of November 22 to thrash out issues affecting the local commercial property market and economy.

More than 200 people descended in the Studio Theatre of in the futuristic new Library of Birmingham to watch what became a riveting debate among a bumper panel, and all round excellent morning of networking.

The panel included:

  • Sir Albert Bore, Leader, Birmingham City Council
  • Paul Rouse, Planning Director, Savills
  • John Morris, Public Affairs Director, Birmingham Airport
  • Rob Groves, Senior Project Director, Argent
  • Stuart Pemble, Partner, Mills & Reeve
  • Jason Wouhra, Director, East End Foods/Chairman, Institute of Directors, West Midlands
  • Donovan Bailey, West Midlands Stakeholder Manager, HS2
  • Chaired by Damian Wild, Editor, Estates Gazette

Watch video

Manchester Question Time 2013

Manchester Question Time was the first debate of EG’s 2013/14 tour, taking in nine cities across the UK. Sponsored by Mills & Reeve and Savills, it was held on the evening of Thursday, 10th October at the Medieval Baronial Hall, inside Chetham’s School of Music, and attended by more than 100 industry people. The debate was chaired by EG editor Damian Wild.

The panel:

  • Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive, Manchester City Council
  • Anne Fairhurst, partner in real estate, Mills & Reeve
  • Mat Oakley, head of European commercial property research, Savills
  • Colin Sinclair, director of property marketing, Bruntwood
  • Tim Newns, chief executive, Midas
  • Derek Hatton, former Liverpool City Council deputy leader
  • Chaired by Damian Wild, Editor, Estates Gazette

Watch video

London Question Time 2013

Estates Gazette’s London Question Time debate at The Shard was a soaring success, with the quality of the debate matched only by the craft beers and culinary treats, sourced directly from the traders at Borough Market next door.

The panel:

  • Irvine Sellar, Developer, London Bridge Quarter
  • Mark Ridley, Chairman and Chief Executive, Savills UK
  • Ian Lindsay, Land & Property Director, Crossrail
  • Gavin Poole, CEO, iCITY
  • Richard Dakin, Managing Director & Head of Corporate Real Estate Business Support, Lloyds Bank
  • Simon Allford, Director, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
  • Andy Bruce, Head of London Real Estate, Linklaters
  • Chaired by Damian Wild, Editor, Estates Gazette

Whether or not you attended, tuned in to our live audio stream, followed on Twitter, or read the coverage in Estates Gazette, we urge you to enjoy these videos we’ve put together that capture the best parts of the evening.

Watch video: The debate

Watch video: The scene

Scotland Question Time 2013

EG’s second Scotland Question Time, sponsored by Savills, took place in Edinburgh on 8th February 2013, chaired by Estates Gazette editor Damian Wild.

The panel:

    • Colin Beattie, Scottish National Party MSP, Midlothian North and Musselburgh
    • John Bury, head of planning, City of Edinburgh Council
    • Stuart Heslop, regional managing director of real estate finance, Royal Bank of Scotland
    • Danny O’Neill, managing director, Ediston Properties
    • Nick Penny, director of investments, Savills

Watch video

Yorkshire & North East Question Time 2013

EG’s first ever Yorkshire & North East Question Time, sponsored by Savills and Mills & Reeve, took place in Leeds on 1st February 2013, chaired by Estates Gazette editor Damian Wild.

The panel:

  • Paul Fairhurst, director, national offices – north, Savills
  • Martin Farrington, director of city development, Leeds City Council
  • Gerald Jennings, portfolio director, north and Scotland, Land Securities
  • Andrew Latchmore, commercial property lawyer, Shulmans/Leeds Property Forum chairman
  • Roger Marsh, senior partner – Leeds office, PwC/deputy chairman Leeds and Partners

Watch video

Midlands Question Time 2012

EG’s second Midlands Question Time, sponsored by Savills, took place in Birmingham on 30th November 2012, chaired by Estates Gazette editor Damian Wild.

The panel:

  • Barry Allen, head of office and regional commercial development, Savills
  • Paul Bassi, chief executive, Real Estate Investors Plc
  • Mark Barrow, strategic director of development, Birmingham City
  • Jerry Blackett, CEO, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce

Watch video

East of England Question Time 2012

EG’s first ever East of England Question Time, sponsored by Savills and Mills & Reeve, took place in Cambridge on 9th November 2012, chaired by Estates Gazette editor Damian Wild.

The panel:

  • Nick Clarke, leader, Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Ben Coles, hief executive, Wrenbridge
  • Emma Fletcher, property director, Marshall of Cambridge
  • Rob Sadler, director – commercial, Savills Cambridge
  • Charles Staveley, partner, Mills & Reeve
  • Sven Topel, chief executive, Brookgate

Watch video

North West Question Time 2012

The second EG North West Question Time took place at The Lowry Centre, Salford Quays on 19th October 2012, chaired by Estates Gazette editor Damian Wild.

The panel:

  • Alice Webb, COO, BBC North
  • Patrick Joynson, Head of Manchester Office, Savills
  • Tom Bloxham, Chairman, Urban Splash
  • Pete Bradshaw, Head of Corporate Responsibility and Infrastructure Development, Manchester City Football Club
  • Ruairidh Jackson, Strategy and Development director, NOMA

Watch video

London Question Time 2012

The first EG London Question Time took place at BAFTA, Piccadilly on 27th April 2012, chaired by Estates Gazette editor Damian Wild.

The panel:

  • Chris Grigg, Chief Executive, British Land
  • Dan Labbad, Chief Executive, Lend Lease
  • David Marks, Joint Managing Partner, Brockton Capital
  • Aubrey Adams, Head of Property, Royal Bank of Scotland
  • James Goldsmith, Director of Central London and International, Savills
  • Andrew Altman, Chief Executive, London Legacy Development Corporation (formerly Olympic Park Legacy Company)

Watch video

South West Question Time 2012

The fourth event, the South West Question Time took place at Colston Hall in Bristol on Friday 30th March 2012, chaired by Estates Gazette editor Damian Wild.

The panel:

  • John Stacey, Asset Management Director, UK and European Investments
  • Bonnie Dean, Chief Executive, Quintain’s Bristol and Bath Science Park
  • Paddy Hales, Director, UK Investment, Savills

Watch video

Scotland Question Time 2012

The third event, the Scotland Question Time took place at The Glasgow Film Theatre on Friday 16th March 2012, chaired by Estates Gazette editor Damian Wild.

The panel:

  • Phil Miller, Chief Executive, Miller Developments
  • Bruce Patrick, Head of Glasgow Office, Savills
  • Andy Mallin, Santander Regional Director Real Estate – Scotland & the North East
  • Nick Waugh, Commercial Property Director, Buccleuch, and Scottish Property Federation committee member
  • Allan McQuade, Business Infrastructure Director, Scottish Enterprise

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Midlands Question Time 2011

The second event, the Midlands Question Time took place at Thinktank – Birmingham Science Museum on Tuesday 29th November 2011, chaired by Estates Gazette editor Damian Wild.

The panel:

  • Waheed Nazir, Director of Planning and Regeneration at Birmingham City Council
  • Bill Oliver, Chief Executive of St. Modwen
  • Andrew Whelan, Santander Regional Director Real Estate – Midlands
  • Barry Allen, Head of Office and Regional Commercial Development, Savills
  • Ian Taylor, Commercial Director for Marketing Birmingham

Watch video

North West Question Time 2011

The first event, the North West Question Time took place at The Lowry in Manchester on Friday 11th November 2011, chaired by Estates Gazette editor Damian Wild.

The panel:

  • Michael Ingall, CEO from Allied London
  • Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council
  • Peter Copley, Property Director at ITV
  • Patrick Joynson, Head of Manchester Office, Savills
  • Derek Bald, Santander Regional Director Real Estate – North

Watch video