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The monthly magazine providing news analysis and professional research for the discerning private investor/landlord

My One Bad Deal

Land and planning specialist Paul Higgs talks with Richard Bowser

As property investors/landlords/developers we all love to see and hear about those great deals, the ones that work out exactly as we planned. The ones where spectacular returns can be made, sometimes it could be due to a planning permission being granted, which significantly boosts the project’s value. Sometimes we just happen to be in the right place at the right time and are lucky enough to be invested prior to an inflationary spurt, or because a major infrastructure announcement has sent demand soaring in a specific location.

What we don’t hear too often, well at least from the developer’s side, is about the ones that do not work out as planned and that run into unexpected problems with the build process, or have unexpected legal or planning related hurdles. And yet these are the deals which test your resolve and which invaluable lessons can be absorbed and which in future you will benefit from. And understandably, most people really only want to talk openly about their big wins and not so much about the losses/mistakes made from their investments or businesses.

Given the above, I was very pleased at the response given to me by Paul Higgs when I asked him: “looking back, what’s the one deal, with hindsight, that you regret doing and why?”

For those of you who don’t Paul, he is one the UK’s most widely respected practitioners in land, planning and development and he contributed a series of articles to this magazine a few years ago from which we have received many positive comments.  

There are no frills with Paul, and unlike many, he just tells it as it is but his answer surprised me, as did the following explanation he provided when I dug a bit deeper during our fascinating interview.

“Well the one I suppose I most regret is one which to an extent is still ongoing”, he said, “albeit it’s one which from a negative situation has now been turned around.” 

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