The company will be looking at development and commercial opportunities to speed up the delivery of creating new homes in former office and retail spaces, created by shifts in the economic environment, the lack of footfall to high streets, and changes in planning legislation with the extension of PDR.
Zones 1-6 will be the first areas of operation, followed by further expansion into commuter areas, such as Guildford and Reading.
Winkworth has also appointed Adam Stackhouse as head of the new Winkworth development and commercial investments department.
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Dominic Agace, chief executive at Winkworth (pictured above), said: “We are now offering a professional B2B service to building owners and investor clients, advising and providing solutions in a rapidly changing residential and commercial environment.
“Winkworth is particularly well placed to offer this breadth of expertise, with deep roots in local property markets established for over 40 years.
“This will provide opportunities across the business, complementing and growing our overall local market reach.
Adam Stackhouse, who joined Winkworth from Bective, commented: “London will be our first focus, and then we will be looking at commuter towns such as Guildford, Godalming, Woking and Reading, where there are often beautiful period buildings being used as offices and shops, suitable for conversion into very smart homes or other uses — bringing new life into forgotten parts of these towns.”
He added that planning reforms were creating a “huge opportunity” to regenerate the link roads leading to the high street, where there are boarded up shops which are no longer sustainable.
“These buildings will be very attractive to investors for conversion into homes, revitalising the streetscape and bringing more residents into the area.”
He also added that the demand for office buildings was also changing as a result of Covid-19, where buildings may be suitable for residential or for reconfiguration into different work spaces for a “new way of working, where people may not be in the office every day."