Interview: Samuel Blake from Montagu Evans
Mon 29th October 2018, 9:57 am
How has Sitematch London changed since the first event in 2012? We speak to Sitematch stalwart, Samuel Blake, about the shifting objectives of the day.
Can you say something about Montagu Evans, and your role in the company?
I joined Montagu Evans in 2016, and I specialise in providing development advice to landowning clients, in particular London boroughs, as well as transport and infrastructure providers.
You have been involved in Sitematch London since the beginning. How has the event evolved over the years?
Back in 2012, it was a new concept and I was very excited to get involved. In the beginning, we were crammed into one of the top floors at City Hall, and while the location was fantastic, the success of the first event made it clear that we would need to find a bigger venue.
Before the first event, it was envisaged that the 'speed-dating' style meetings would be more heavily focused on individual development opportunities, promoted by each borough. As the event evolved, it became clear that developers and councils were deriving great benefit from wider, more strategic discussions. It has been very interesting over the years witnessing first hand new concepts, such as co-living being tested directly with boroughs.
What are your objectives for attending the event?
For me, it is an opportunity to spend the day talking with boroughs and developers to get ourselves out there and engaged with the bigger picture in terms of development opportunities and challenges across London.
What do you believe are some of the key obstacles that need to be overcome to speed up delivery of affordable homes in London?
Additional funding will help, as well – as in some cases – more resources for overloaded planning departments. Where viability is genuinely challenging, we need a pragmatic approach from all sides to avoid delays and schemes stalling.
Do you have any advice for people attending the event for the first time?
Come with an open mind and be ready for an intense day of networking and discussions. Be sure to arrange a follow-up meeting where you think there is a genuine opportunity to build a relationship.