Mizen Properties Ltd.

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

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 Mizen Properties Ltd. is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Bernard Tansey, executive
Mizen Group was founded in 1986 by chairman, Bernard
Tansey. His two sons subsequently joined the business
as part of a process that has brought together a
team of skilled people in construction, commercial and design
management, and project finance. Mizen core services include
new builds, refurbishment and conservation area regeneration
and they have developed an ethos which focuses on
straightforward contracts and sensible land acquisition. Bernard
discusses their vast catalogue of work as well as the impact of
issues such as planning regulation and Brexit.
The Mizen Group boast a combined 700 years in industry, 3,000 homes, 72
projects and 500,000 square feet of commercial and industrial space. We have had
24 public sector clients and are looking to continue growing. We provide a range
of services, bringing together external architects, engineers and town planners to
meet the needs of our clients. Our business model engages the best and latest in
design and sustainable technologies, using our in-house project management and
construction skills to execute our work.
Our ethos
We are a design-led developer with a focus on excellence without compromise
in the creation of contemporary buildings across a broad spectrum of styles. Our
developments have included starter homes, joint ventures, Help to Buy housing
and large tailor-made projects. Recently, we have branched out into larger-scale
industrial and commercial developments to fill the industrial accommodation deficit.
»Executive chairman:
»Established in 1986
»Based in St Margarets,
Richmond upon Thames,
»Services: New builds,
refurbishment and
conservation area regeneration
»No. of employees: 50
Mizen Group
Highlighting best practice
Our clients recognise that our ethics
and integrity are fundamental to our
business. Our projects are delivered on
time and budget, thanks to carefully
selected development teams, put
together by our management. We
prefer graduates and professionally
qualified people as our team leaders,
as the discipline and decision-making
skills required cannot be easily
substituted otherwise.
When the principals established St
Mark Homes plc, a public company,
they did so to attract inward risk
investment, to facilitate peer-to-peer
lending and to support the open-
market housing sector. These actions
were taken in response to the project
funding crisis that emerged after the
financial collapse of 2007.
Brexit and property
We wanted to remain part of the EU in
order to maintain a pool of competent
labourers who continue to drive the
growth of both our business and the
UK economy. There are 2.4 million EU
workers in the UK, and 30 per cent of
construction workers in London are EU
nationals. EU migrants are necessary
for the British construction industry
to support the maintenance and
expansion of economic activity and to
counter the effects of falling UK birth
rates. We fear that a number of skilled
and unskilled workers from the EU may
leave because of an inadequate Brexit
deal and the prolonged uncertainty.
Recently, we have encountered sales
resistance on several of our sites and
this is an issue that is not just affecting
the construction industry. Iconic
businesses such as Rolls-Royce have
announced job losses of 4,000 people,
and many other firms are relocating
abroad. This change is a result of
urgent business planning terms, which
aim to balance the risk of economic
contraction following an unsatisfactory
Brexit settlement.
Our work
We have been “around the block”
several times, but we are seen to be
entirely supportive of the aspirations
of our clients, and our work is often a
true joint venture between partners.
This is always the case, whether we’re
working on a small housing scheme in
Ealing or a multistorey 220-dwelling
project in east London. Every home is
someone’s dream, from an apartment
in Canning Town to a bespoke home
near Brentwood, Essex. It is our
responsibility to deliver that dream.
We have recently completed a project
at St Margarets that was carefully
built above a 3.6m diameter network
of tunnels adjacent to the Isleworth
Thames Marina. Near Chester, we
took the lead in the restoration
and enlargement of what is now a
Bridgettine monastery and hospice.
In the process, we won an award
for the built environment and
Every home is
dream and it
is our
to deliver that
Planning regulations
While we are a growing SME, we
are concerned that the SME is a
diminishing business model in our
industry. In 1990, 40 per cent of new
homes were delivered by SMEs, but
that figure has since fallen to 12.5 per
cent. Across the industry, only 20 per
cent of SMEs that existed in the 1980s
are still trading today. In the property
and construction industry this can be
explained by the difficulty in obtaining
the working capital and the funding
necessary to procure and deliver
planning consent.
Successive governments have tried to
simplify the planning code, but all such
attempts have failed and will continue
to do so. This is until there is a focus
on the actual development needs of
society, rather than MPs focusing on
just their constituency. It is important
to defend local democracy, but not
at the expense of progress on a
The government needs to introduce
planning policy directives that would,
therefore, carry greater authority.
This would hopefully lead to a more
efficient planning system, with fewer
referrals to the planning inspectorate in
circumstances where local councillors
are reluctant to make decisions at
all. This is giving rise to unnecessary
cost and delay which is ultimately
recognisable – somebody needs to
take responsibility.
Following on from the negotiation
and granting of a planning consent
in one London borough, we were
invited back by the head of planning
and the responsible cabinet member
to discuss how the planning system
might be made to work better for
all stakeholders. This seemed like
a new beginning at the time – an
examination of how planning consent
documentation might be reduced in
size, how consent often granted with
60 conditions might be simplified and
how the inputs of statutory consultees
might impact the work of planning
officers, planning committees and
consent notices.
The administrative element of planning
processes was discussed in depth,
not the least element of which was
an “obligation” on planning officers
to rubber-stamp the advices given by
consultees, irrespective of whether
or not the advice in question related
to infrastructure, highways, the
environment or sustainability. After
all this examination and discussion,
however, we saw no tangible
result. The UK is an excellent place
to do business and our people are
committed to the Mizen Group. Such
is teamwork; we win or lose together.
It is important
to defend
but not at the
expense of
progress on a
national scale


This article was sponsored by Mizen Properties Ltd.. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.