Cavendish & Gloucester Properties Limited

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Cavendish & Gloucester Properties Limited's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Cavendish & Gloucester Properties Limited is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Founder Peter Murphy
Netley Castle
Cavendish & Gloucester is a well-established property
developer founded in 1972 that combines youthful
enthusiasm with a strong core of experience. Its efficient
operations are dedicated to maintaining and improving business
on a day-to-day basis. As a result, its operations now span
the entirety of London and the Home Counties, earning a
reputation as a leader in its field. Founder Peter Murphy tells the
more about the company’s past, present and future.
The character of a Cavendish & Gloucester home develops from a dedication and
attention to detail that is second to none. This is clearly evident in the quality of the
craftsmanship, specification and finish used throughout and the care taken to build
properties that are in keeping with each of the premier locations in which we build.
While our company continues to expand its operation and portfolio, we still
maintain a very high build quality and instil inspirational design into each property
we create, treating every new development as an entirely bespoke project, meeting
the demands of each location and fulfilling the expectations of those who wish to
live there. We also have a genuine regard for the local environment and make every
effort to minimise the impact of our construction work upon it.
Learning tough lessons
Arriving in London in the 1960s for a pre-arranged job in the civil service, it soon
became apparent to me that while I did not come from a business family, the way
forward was to become an entrepreneur. By the 1970s I was working in a district
»Founder: Peter Murphy
»Founded in 1972
»Based in London and
»Services: Property
development, trading and
»No. of employees: 26
Cavendish & Gloucester
Properties Limited
Highlighting best practice
valuer’s office for the Inland Revenue.
From there I changed jobs thanks to a
kind employer in a local authority, and
I began to see for myself the workings
of the property market and the way
ahead for a business venture. Having
bought a house in Finchley, I then
converted it into flats and sold them,
I had enough capital to proceed with
the help of a local estate agent with
whom I had become friendly, and my
first purchases were on a 50-50 split
basis. I was able to borrow money,
but I had no real concept of how
a business should work and how it
would succeed in the future.
Our first serious experience of the
property market was when the
property downturn came in the late
1970s, which put the business on
the bread line. They used to say at
the time that I had become a “minus
millionaire”. In fact, this was an
experience that shaped my life and
taught me that the best thing to do
when in trouble was admit it and then
demonstrate that there was a way to
pay the money back and, usually, the
person who had borrowed it was the
best person to recover it.
One of my business partners
introduced a firm of solicitors whose
clients wanted to invest and we were
very fortunate in this respect that
they weren’t keen “banking types”
– they just wanted to make sure
they received all their money back,
and we are pleased to confirm that
they did. Other deals I made were on
commercial property and were not so
profitable; one or two discounts were
accepted and we were able to remain
in business. So, the “minus millionaire”
became just minus, but out of that
came the wealth of knowledge of the
workings of so many different aspects
of the property sector.
Growing and developing
Having to restart the business was not
a problem as one of our partners was
very experienced and able to analyse
our operations with the few properties
we had left on our portfolio, before
offering us a way forward since our
reputation with one of the major banks
was still intact. Some of our decisions,
such as paying off a bank loan with a
few properties remaining, stood us in
good stead and we resumed business
Edgware Abbey
Our first
experience of
the property
market was
when the
came in the
late 1970s
activities straight away. With the
goodwill of the banks, we were able
to borrow sufficient funds to carry out
bigger developments and conversions;
consequently, our general scale of
activity increased considerably.
Following that crash, the manner in
which our growth was achieved is
very difficult to pinpoint precisely.
Certainly, our tenacious attitude has
paid dividends, but our ability to
adapt to changing circumstances in
the marketplace has also played a
part. In the early days of control and
regulated investments, refurbishment
of this type of investment was virtually
non-existent. From a refurbishment
angle, the freeing-up of financial
restrictions has led to so many
competitors that the only conversions
that still remain profitable are those
of larger buildings where very few
competitors exist.
Over the years, we are proud to say
that we have been able to keep most
of our staff, with many people having
been with us for 20 to 30 years, as
have most of our contractors and
many of our banks.
Policy challenges
It is true to say that a Labour
government with its restrictions has
been kinder to the property sector
without intending to be. Of late,
some of the restrictions that have
been brought in by this government
have had a detrimental impact on
the property market, particularly the
enormous increase in stamp duty. In
addition, the restrictions on claiming
proper expenses against profits are
having some serious effect on the
marketplace. The latter, for a medium-
sized company, is potentially very
serious, and means that interest
charges will not be allowed to be set
against tax. This will reduce both the
amount of activity and the amount of
brain power in terms of finding ways
to manage this scenario.
Of course, there are pros and cons
with all governments, but the
reduction in controls on residential
lettings has led to a much more fluid
market, which is good for everybody
and in particular allows people to
move throughout the country. The
freeing-up of the banking system
has generally been good, and while
health and safety has played its part
in construction, which has led to a
much safer working environment,
this is counterbalanced by some of
the bureaucratic regulations that
have been introduced from the EU on
ecology. These seem to fly in the face
of the known experienced developers
in the countryside and create a
situation where anyone carrying out a
building project in a rural area would
be held accountable for at least half
a dozen different aspects of their
As I am now reaching the age when
retirement looms, I am satisfied that I
have made a big enough contribution
to society while being true to my own
morals. I sincerely hope that young
people in the property industry will
follow suit.
Seal Laundry

This article was sponsored by Cavendish & Gloucester Properties Limited. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster