Steve Louth graduated in town planning at Birmingham City University, gaining his diploma in 2003. After a short spell in local authority development control at Coventry City Council and Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, he moved to private practice and multidisciplinary firm BNP Paribas and later Turley Associates. He joined land promotion company Richborough Estates in 2014 and has risen to regional manager.
Q. What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?
I'm responsible for growing the company in the east and north-east of the UK – in reality this means looking at small and large sites with the potential to develop, acquiring them, negotiating planning promotion agreements with landowners and selling them to national and regional housebuilders. Ultimately, performance is measured on a target number of sites to acquire ever year to maintain a pipeline of sites for the next two to three years. I have to make sure that hopper is consistently full.
What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives?
A. Relationships are crucial. Qualifications and practical experience are important, but fostering trust and common ground with clients and other people is as important, if not more so.
Good instincts help. When you look at or acquire sites your instincts are important because you have to go with your gut feeling: if a site looks too good to be true on a sunny day, it probably is.
Reputation is everything. Being a small company, reputation is absolutely everything. We are growing, pushing into new areas where we are not so well known, so people have to trust us and know what they are buying from us is deliverable.