Business matters: the growth of greenspace

As Regional Director of Greenbelt, Robin Waddell is an experienced operator in the UK’s Environmental Management sector.

He is instrumental in working to promote and develop the company’s greenspace model all across the UK.

Today, we had the opportunity to grab a minute out of his busy schedule and ask him about life with Greenbelt . . . and what we can expect from the company in the year ahead.

What makes working for Greenbelt so special?

Environmental Management is extremely rewarding. The decisions we make on an hourly basis have a very direct and beneficial impact on all the sites we manage. Every project is different.

In a nutshell, what is the greenspace model?

When Greenbelt take ownership of public open spaces and thus full liability, this means one credible body is now solely responsible for their upkeep in perpetuity.

This offers consistent land management solutions for the future.

It also provides one point of call to any queries from Local Planning Authorities and interested stakeholders.

What have been standout achievements recently?

Well, the most remarkable thing in 2015 was the incredible upsurge in newly awarded business.

In just three business quarters, from April to December, were awarded more than 12,000 new units.

In fact, in the 21 months from April 2014 to December 2015 we have been awarded an astonishing 19,000 units.

This equates to well over one third of the total amount of units under greenspace billing – that’s 45,200 Greenbelt households nationwide and growing – amassed over a period of sixteen years!

These figures certainly put into perspective the phenomenal interest in our greenspace model.

What does 2016 have in store?

To be honest, more of the same: healthy and steady growth in business.

Local Authorities are under pressure to zone more land for development and process planning applications quicker.

This has seen a faster throughput of new sites and this factor will exist for a few more years to come.

Despite opening lots of new sites, developers are now being criticised for not building fast enough. We expect there to be a lull in new enquiries for the first part of 2016 and then for them to pick up again.

We expect to see another five-digit number in enquiries by the end of the business year in 2017.

With this increase in greenspace enquiries, we have a strong indicator that house building is set to move at a faster pace.

Moreover, the greenspace arrangement is recognised as a popular and favoured route by the industry for the long-term care of open spaces and roads.

And the surge I’ve outlined is a combination of both factors – the result of which is that our client base is awarding Greenbelt increasing numbers of sites.

Anything extra-special to look out for?

Yes, a brand new Greenbelt office in the South Midlands.

Having a permanent presence in this region will give our existing clients in the area even more confidence in Greenbelt’s service delivery.

It will also help to stimulate interest from new clients.

This office will also be ideal as a springboard for reaching our clients who are based further south, west and east of the Midlands.

And, finally, what’s the best advice you were ever given in business?

Never fall back on a promise to a client!