Tue Jul 2021

The Development & Regeneration Series – A Morning with Be First London


Written by:
Alex Miller,
Practice Director

A Morning with Be First London – Accelerating Growth in Barking and Dagenham.

Earlier this month, Panoramic Associates’ Lead Senior Consultant Alex Miller held the next instalment of The Development & Regeneration Series!

Alex was joined by Be First’s Pat Hayes, Managing Director, and Caroline Harper, Chief Planning Director, who covered a wide range of topics to give us an insight as to how they run their respected services.

Pat gave an overview of Be First’s objectives and goals as to why they were initially set up. The Council took a view to intervene in the housing market and seized an opportunity to build out a housing programme.

A regeneration department was formed as an arm’s length company to address the housing demand in the Borough. This started as a build small scale build operation and now has expanded with the view of producing 5,000 units over the next 5-10 years. Be First currently have 1,500 units on-site and have produced 3,000 units in their first five years of operation.

Caroline then went on to explain her experiences joining Be First from a solely private sector background and her initial challenges when joining a Public Sector organisation.

Caroline oversees what she calls a “Planning Super Service”, which consists of a variety of services and a growing planning consultancy team. The team Caroline inherited wasn’t fit for purpose, which meant she had to drive a huge cultural shift to ensure planning is used as a mechanism to say no to poor development. Caroline’s goal in the coming years is to grow the consultancy team, to not just oversee Council owned schemes, but to explore working for third parties.

After this, there was a chance for the attendees to ask any questions relating to the speaker’s insights.

This was a brilliant session for all attendees as it enabled them to take a glimpse into one of the leading wholly-owned companies in the country.

Watch the meetup below.

We, at Panoramic Associates, thoroughly enjoy getting insights into our specialist market sectors, other organisations and perspectives. We run these events to build our collective knowledge and provide opportunities to create a network of like-minded individuals.

If you have any suggestions on future topics for our next event or would be interested in attending, please contact Alex at [email protected]

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