Tom Wignall sits down with Paul Wilson to talk about the changes he has encountered over the last 40 yrs. in business.
P Wilson & Company is celebrating its 40th year spent assisting all manner of clients with a large variety of instructions. This year has so far seen the introduction of 3 new staff members, a new website and branding changes amongst other things as the company continues to grow and thrive.
I sat down with Senior Partner Paul Wilson to get an insight in to how the practice has grown and what it is like to be a Chartered Surveyor practicing now for in excess of 40 years.
So, Paul, please tell us about yourself
Well, where do I start, I suppose we should start from the very beginning.
I was born on Mount Street, a stone’s throw from the office we are in today. I was educated at Preston Catholic College on Winckley Square where, after leaving school, I was fortunate enough to become a pupil at Wilson Peat Brewerton & Co.
Until my mid- teens I lived in Bamber Bridge before moving to Hoghton so I witnessed the construction of the first motorway and lived through the busy days of the Central Lancashire New Town which changed the nature of the area considerably.
As a result of living and growing up in the north west I am an avid football fan following Preston North End and Manchester United. Football was instilled in me. I played for numerous local teams around Preston and Chorley before hanging up the boots to take on a long spell managing Croston Football Club.
How did the practice start?
When I took my first job as a Land Agent, I didn’t really understand what a Land Agent did but somehow, it was the perfect job for me so I stuck with the profession. I qualified as a Chartered Surveyor and Agricultural Valuer aged 21, having successfully completed a correspondence course with the College of Estate Management and Reading University whilst working for Wilson Peat Brewerton & Co initially based on Winckley Square then latterly at Garstang Road.
Post qualification I joined the District Valuers Office in Blackburn. As the only rural surveyor I was fortunate to meet and negotiate with many senior members of the profession.
I was then offered a position with Smith Hodgkinson in Chorley, becoming a partner in 1975 leaving 4 years later to establish P. Wilson & Co. in Bolton.
To my great surprise we are celebrating the practice’s 40th anniversary! I am lucky enough to be in partnership with some very talented and energetic younger people.
Do you still get involved in most areas of work?
Yes, one thing that made me become a Land Agent was the diverse range of work we undertake. This has not changed but as you would expect I have become increasingly specialised over the years. I regularly deal with Landlord and Tenant matters, in various guises, I undertake valuations and deal with Dispute Resolution cases including arbitration, mediation and expert determination. I currently sit as an arbitrator on a regular basis.
Has the work changed much from when you started?
Whilst the type of work has changed considerably, what is expected of us has not.
Initially I dealt with compulsory purchase and compensation cases arising from the creation of the motorways network in the North West, along with the acquisition of land being compulsorily acquired by the Commission for New Towns and the National Coal Board.
As the compulsory purchase cases reduced my Clients involved me in lots of different aspects of professional work so my work load adapted accordingly evolving into the diverse range of services we provide today.
There have also been many changes in both the legislation, regulation and the technology we use on a daily basis. These changes have been incorporated into our working practices to enhance the services we provide to our Clients. Over the years have also been embraced and incorporated in to the service we provide our clients. It is no longer necessary to hand draw plans of buildings or manually calculate areas of land. Technology has changed how we work, at least for some.
What do you enjoy most about the job?
There are many things I love about my role including the wide variety of work that we do. No two days are the same, making each day a new day, the time just flies! I also enjoy meeting a wide variety of clients and professionals. I find providing value for money and striving to make every client as happy as possible with the service we provide extremely rewarding.
What can we expect to see in the coming months and years?
Continual evolvement of the practice is anticipated. We have launched our new website to keep our clients up to date with properties we are marketing, the range of work we undertake, new legislation and guidance.
We are also embracing social media to keep our clients and fellow professionals up to date by posting relevant information, important updates and changes they should be aware of.
With Brexit on the horizon, (or far distance!), UK agriculture and the countryside we live and work in, is potentially facing the biggest challenges and changes many of our Clients will have experienced for some time. We will adapt, reflecting the everchanging legislative changes, to ensure sound, relevant advice is provided at all times in order to benefit our clients in the decisions they take.