Sky-high success for Sitematch
by James Renoux-Wood Thu 3rd April 2014, 2:12 pm
213 delegates have taken part in 360 meetings in five hours to discuss London development issues and opportunities in Europe's tallest office building.
Those attending 3Fox International’s fourth Sitematch London event at The Shard on 2 April were full of praise for the day of dialogue between public sector landowners and private sector investors and developers.
3Fox managing director, Toby Fox, and Pat Hayes, Ealing Council's director of regeneration and housing – representing the council which co-founded Sitematch – made brief speeches to start proceedings.
Hayes said: “It has been a great pleasure to see Sitematch evolve and it has become a real fixture on the development event calendar. Sitematch stands up against any event of this kind in the world.
“Today is a rare opportunity for the private and public sector to get together and talk about unlocking some of the more difficult sites in London, address problems in the private rental sector and to discuss how best to cater for genuinely affordable housing for people.
“As a council, we are really pleased to have been involved with setting up the Sitematch concept, and we have been working with the organisers – 3Fox – ever since.”
Then it was down to business, with private sector representatives finding themselves with a jam-packed schedule to speak to 25 of London’s local authorities, as well as other public sector landowners including Transport for London (TfL), the Metropolitan Police, the Greater London Authority (GLA), Ministry of Justice and NHS Property Services. Council representatives from Brighton and Hove, Adur and Worthing, Hampshire and Wakefield also attended as observers.
“It exceeded anything we could have hoped for,” said Nicholas Boys Smith of Create Streets, the social enterprise associated with Prince Charles’ call for “mid-rise development”, as featured in the Evening Standard.
Private sector delegates included Adventure Experience, which was seeking land for leisure facilities. Managing director, Scott Sinclair, said: “We are looking for a 300-acre site and have 10 meetings set up today, which is brilliant. It really is fantastic to get into a room with the sort of people it would normally take a long time to arrange meetings with.”
Supermarkets were also seeking sites, and Mark Hudson, part of the property team at Asda, said: "The condensed meeting format has really allowed me to get straight to the point with the people I need to start conversations with.”
East Thames Group, which works with six east London boroughs and sponsor 3Fox’s East magazine, saw an invaluable opportunity to speak to the strategic landowners present – NHS, the GLA and TfL in particular. Senior project manager Graham Kauders said: “Despite working in the same sector, it is amazing how difficult it is to track down people for meetings and this event is particularly useful for that.”
Sitematch London was sponsored by BNP Paribas Real Estate UK, GVA, Knight Frank, Lambert Smith Hampton, Re and Wilmott Dixon.
Stephen Parker, senior sales and marketing manager at Wilmott Dixon, summed up the feeling in the room. “What an incredibly slick operation,” he said.