Who’s who in Yorkshire property

Power in property takes various forms. Place Yorkshire takes a look at some of the civic leaders, heavyweight developers and others with a vital role to play in leading the market in 2023.

Tracy Brabin, mayor of West Yorkshire

With Labour counterparts in Greater Manchester’s Andy Burnham and Liverpool’s Steve Rotheram, Brabin has been a vocal presence as the regional mayors urge government action over the North’s barely functioning railway network. Brabin served as MP for Batley and Spen between 2016 and 2021, resigning to contest and win the position of West Yorkshire’s first mayor in 2021.

Peter Garrett, managing director, Keyland Developments

Peter Garrett KEY PLAYERS

Garrett joined Keyland in 2007, since when he has overseen the development of hundreds of acres of land through various means. Keyland, Yorkshire Water’s property subsidiary, operates in three main ways: developing legacy Yorkshire Water sites itself; joint ventures with the likes of Evans Property Group and the estate of the late Sir Robert Ogden; and agreements with third party landowners, among which cash-strapped councils are likely to grow in importance.

Edward Ziff, chairman and chief executive, Town Centre Securities

Edward Ziff TCS int KEY PLAYERS

Once regarded as the most old-school of property companies, TCS has shown enough agility to move with the times, and there’s a youthful, zesty air about its work these days. The partnership with Glenbrook to deliver a project of scale at Whitehall Riverside is an eye-catcher, while plans are being tweaked at Great George Street. Ziff has an able team, led by group property director Craig Burrow, formerly Bruntwood’s top man in Leeds.

Kevin McCabe, founder and chairman, Scarborough Group


The globetrotting Scarborough Group sails on, with McCabe’s son Simon an increasingly important figure as chief executive. The company has never been tied down by geography, but has a strong presence locally and remains busy. While plans recently went in for a major industrial scheme at Brown Moor next to Thorpe Park, Sheffield’s Olympic Legacy Park is a more intriguing one, with elements including education, the English Institute of Sport, and Ice Sheffield. An application is expected soon, with work starting in Q3 2023. Ex-LSH man Adam Varley is also a key figure.

Tom Riordan, chief executive, Leeds City Council

tom riordan

With director of city development Martin Farrington at his right hand, Riordan sits atop a council that, in common with its counterparts, has to balance funding issues but has a wealth of opportunities if investment can be levered its way. He has been in post since 2010, and was previously involved in establishing regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, later becoming the body’s chief executive.

Kate Josephs, chief executive, Sheffield City Council

kate josephs sheffield council KEY PLAYERS

Josephs has a background in senior civil service roles, having spent time at the UK Treasury, the Performance Improvement Council and the Department for Education before becoming head of the government’s Covid taskforce. She has been in post in Sheffield since the start of 2021.

Lee Powell, chief executive, GMI Construction

Powell took on the newly created role of CEO of GMI in February 2022, taking the reins of a £350m business with a pipeline of orders worth £300m. Work lined up for GMI includes a £200m train manufacturing plant in Goole for Siemens and further work at Thorpe Park for Scarborough Group and Legal & General. The client roster also includes Tritax Symmetry, St James Securities, Graftongate, Peel L&P, Muse, Opus North and Evans Property Group.

Dominic Gibbons, managing director, Wykeland Group

dominic gibbons c Wykeland KEY PLAYERS

The boss of Hull’s most important developer took on the additional role of chairman of Hull and East Yorkshire Cultural Compact in August 2021, one of 20 such bodies set up around the UK to raise an area’s cultural profile. After working as a surveyor with Rapleys in the mid-1990s, Gibbons joined Wykeland and has been there ever since, becoming director in 1999 and MD 10 years later. Gibbons also spent time as a regional council member with the CBI.

Lynda Shillaw, chief executive, Harworth

Harworth owns and manages around 14,000 acres across 100 sites in the North of England and the Midlands, with flagship sites including Waverley in Rotherham and Logistics North in Bolton. Shillaw joined the group in late 2020, and has an admirable breadth of experience, having spent time in senior roles in the property businesses of Manchester Airport, the Co-operative Group and BT, along with being head of global real estate lending at Lloyds Banking Group.

Paul Caddick, chairman, Caddick Group


Caddick is another of Yorkshire’s blue-chip property empires, with a vastly experienced senior leadership team, counting among its number executive chairman Andrew Murray and Paul Dodsworth, who arrived from Wates in 2022 to become managing director of all construction within Caddick. Well known for its work at the Headingley sports grounds, much of the firm’s more high profile work in recent years has been through Moda Living, its build-to-rent division, which has projects including New York Square in Leeds and Angel Gardens in Manchester.

Shanaz Gulzar, creative director, Bradford 2025

Shanaz Gulzar KEY PLAYERS Credit tim smith

Bradford’s year as UK City of Culture 2025 has the potential to draw together projects across all sectors and bring placemaking to the fore in a city that has sometimes struggled to make itself heard amidst the noise of neighbouring Leeds and Manchester. There are projects directly linked to the programme, such as the National Science & Museum renovation, but more importantly it should focus minds and direct cash towards public realm interventions with lasting impact. Down the road in Halifax, Nicky Chance-Thompson’s work at the Piece Hall Trust demonstrates beautifully the positive impact culture can have on a visitor economy. Image credit: Tim Smith.


This article is brought to you by Place Yorkshire, part of the wider Place North media group

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