Bill Lightfoot - Director, Development Consultancy
My grandfather, Robert Guy Hobbs, introduced me to Hobbs Parker when I was two years old, when he sat me next to him on the auctioneer's rostrum, while he sold the cattle at a rattling pace. I was a regular visitor to the auction market and the Hobbs Parker offices from then onwards. I was often put to work helping Polly the tea lady on her rounds, chasing sheep around the market and stuffing envelopes in the post room. Eventually, aged 19, I escaped this cruel world of child labour and with my A levels in my back pocket, went away to study Rural Estate Management at the Royal Agricultural College. Remarkably I graduated and then moved on to live and work in the Yorkshire dales. Too young and foolish to appreciate the stunning beauty of the national park, I did, however, learn from some very straight talking and seasoned professionals and managed, under the strict eye of the RICS, to qualify as a Chartered Surveyor in 1995. Travelling back South again in 1996, I set about designing and building a new house in Brook. I still live there today with the mistakes of my naive architecture, my lovely wife Keeley, my three naughty daughters, three dogs, two cats, pigs, chickens and our old horse Jack. At the same time, I joined Hobbs Parker, although this time I was paid a wage. Not a living wage, nor in fact a minimum wage but a wage none the less! I worked in every conceivable part of the business before finding my natural place in the business of property.Invited into the partnership in 2001, I set about, with the help of some very bright and determined colleagues, building a remarkably successful local estate agency business. Mindful of the great history and reputation of the firm, I have insisted that we treat all of our customers with respect and provide them with sound honest advice. The result is our enviable reputation for professionalism which I am very proud of. Whilst managing the estate agency I have, along the way, with an interest in architecture and planning, specialised in the competitive world of property development. I provide detailed advice to land owners and property developers in all areas of the business including valuation, promotion, sales and purchase, legal agreements and viability assessments. It is a very interesting specialism, not least of all because of the financial sums involved, but also because it is not something that can easily be learnt from books and lectures but really only through gritty experience.All in all my work at Hobbs Parker manages to keep me out of mischief. However, when I am not at work you will find me mostly ferrying the kids here and there, walking the dogs in the hills and woods around Brook, huffing and puffing around the squash courts of Kent and merrily eating and drinking with my friends and family.