Co-founder and CEO
Richard is focussed on the delivery of projects, people and corporate strategy at Stories.
Richard is a chartered planning and development surveyor (MRICS) and holds a masters in Engineering from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge and a Property Law & Valuation degree from Cass Business School.
Richard holds a number of other prominent roles in the industry and his community:
Non-Executive Director, Cambridge University, Property Board.
Chairman of Bybrook Pre-School, Wiltshire
Former Vice-Chair of the Urban Land Institute (ULI)
I have been very lucky. Lucky to be a part of one of London’s most interesting, complex and significant development projects - King’s Cross. I joined Argent in 2003, when King’s Cross was not such a great place to be, when it was not very safe, not very desirable and somewhere that was a necessary place to go through, en-route to somewhere else. And what a journey it has been since. I’ve been able to work with some of the brightest and most passionate minds over the past 20 years to help shape and deliver what we see there today. It has been an invaluable experience to see through most of the development of King’s Cross, to live with the outcomes of decisions made many years earlier, to understand what works, and what doesn’t. And also to start to apply that to future developments such as that at Brent Cross Town.
At the same time I have been on a personal journey joining 25 people as a graduate, and leaving 150 people as a partner. I have much to be grateful to Argent for.
But by the spring of 2018, I had decided that it was time to move on. I do development because I want to help people get on in life, because I take pleasure from people enjoying or benefitting in someway from initiatives that I have been a part of. I do development because I really enjoy working with other enthusiastic people, and learning about other people’s perspectives. I do recognise the need to be commercial but I strongly believe that a good ‘deal’ can follow from a strong vision that can have a positive impact on other people’s lives, not the other way around. What better time and opportunity to firmly embed this approach within a new business with like minded individuals?
But before doing so I was able to pack my bags and, with my wife and two daughters (aged seven and two at the time), embark on a 7,500 mile trip around Europe in a campervan last year. That was really important for us as a family to do. I am really really pleased we did it. There were some lovely moments. But it was by no means a breeze. Putting a family of four in one (moving) small room for 5 months is definitely a way to get to know each other better. Home (a.k.a preparing for Covid) schooling and potty training, ‘free-camping’ and not knowing where you’re going to stay the next night, 40 degree temperatures in a tin-can, staying in some dodgy places. Not all that it’s cracked up to be. BUT, we did get to read, we did get to think (sometimes), to reflect, to see how many other people live, to be surprised by how well some countries do things, be shocked and disappointed by how those same countries do other things - to inform what we could do better in the UK. Three of the biggest lessons for me? First trying to be that bit more understanding of each other as a family. Second, being reminded (again) as to just how hospitable, good natured and generous most people, irrespective of background, can be. Third, just how fragile and unsustainable much of what we enjoy really is.
During my travels, Paul picked up the phone to me. I remember the call, and subsequent one where I took refuge from bad weather in a friendly Greek’s garage, who then proceeded to feed me shots of ouzo! Lots of similar thinking going on about the world of development. And at the same time I was contacting James, intrigued to see how his trip had been. James sent me a list of great books to read! Sad to say I didn’t get through nearly as many as him, but what I did read really gave some perspective. I really like Paul & James. We are each quite different but we share many of the same values and motivations in life.
So here we are. We’ve started an impact led development business. We know what we’ve got to do. And the next chapter unrolls.