Rory Daly

The senior partner at chartered surveyors and auctioneers CPBigwood, wants less talk and more action to get the city up to scratch

Please introduce yourself?

 Rory Daly, senior partner at CPBigwood, chartered surveyors and auctioneers.

What does your company do?

 We advise on all types of commercial and residential property and we are the largest auction house outside of London.

Is Brum a good place to do business?

 Undoubtedly. We are very active because we offer a wide range of property services from sales and lettings to property management, planning consultancy and the full range of professional services. There is always scope for improvement, but we can’t complain.

What are your biggest gripes with it?

 Everything just takes too long. It is heartening to see New Street Station and the library coming to fruition, but they seem to have taken forever. Similarly, the airport runway extension. Manchester, seems to be able to drive its regeneration projects through much quicker, which is a particular bugbear of mine.

How do you feel your clients see the city?

 It’s a good place to do business because the commercial centre is really a ‘village’. All the top professional firms are within yards of each other and there is a very tight-knit business community, which makes networking much easier than in a huge metropolis like London.

Does Birmingham offer any particular advantages as a destination for business?

 It has a great range of available commercial property and I believe areas like Brindleyplace truly offer a world class environment for business and leisure. The city’s central location at the heart of the county means it is an obvious destination for a UK head office and back office operations.

What should our priorities be as a city?

 To re-establish our position as the UK’s Second City on all levels. This means an early completion of the airport expansion, accelerating the HS2 project, and really cracking on with the big infrastructure projects such as Paradise Circus and the regeneration of Digbeth.

How many more versions of the Big City Plan do we need?

 Get on with it!

The one billion dollar question – if you had £1bn to spend on improving Brum what would you do with it?

 My, first priority would be to attack the Hagley Road issue. This is the gateway to Birmingham from the south west, but from the Kings Head up to Five Ways it looks like a ghetto now. A lot of property and land has been CPO’d, but still nothing has been done. Whether the solution is widening the Hagley Road, creating a Metro extension or a combination of both I am not sure. But this is a nettle that needs grasping.

Anything else to add…

 The private sector in Birmingham is a very proactive marketplace and if you have the will to succeed there is everything here an entrepreneur needs to build a business, or for an international corporation to create a UK base.