The Developer - Friend or Foe

"The Developer - Friend or Foe" was the title under which Colin Ablitt delivered his talk to the society on the 16th March. Members who turned out on what was a wet and somewhat dreary evening were rewarded with a comprehensive account of the development process, delivered with a light and often humorous touch. Colin Ablitt is a Chartered Surveyor, with an office above the Oxfam Shop in Market Street; he is not a developer but is "an agent" for development. Describing development as a process of physical change of property or its use, he went on to identify developers - owner occupiers, investors and speculators; why they chose to develop - financial gain; and when they chose to develop - when market forces are most favourable.

Knowledge of 'the market' is a prime preliminary consideration before the likely cost of development can be calculated. A multi-disciplined team of architect, structural engineer and quantity surveyor has to be fitted together in order for development to proceed. Outline Planning Consent is sought as the local community become involved. Mr Ablitt speculated upon the idea of the absence of planning control being responsible for the charm of developments by owner occupiers at a time now long since past. He provoked further thought about the role of town centres as centres of commerce, as attractions for tourists and as places for leisure pursuit or as museums. Finally, he posed the question "Are these all compatible?".

Ivor Mitchell
March 1989