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Brewery Wharf: George McKerracher

Over the winter period, various places in Leeds struggled with flooding. The Brewery Wharf development were resilient through the period, managing to react superbly and protect the building. This is only testimony to the work from Barratt Homes who originally built the development.

When we spoke to Barratt Homes about their reaction to the floods, their technical director David Hudson told us, “Barratt Homes are proud to deliver high quality residential schemes throughout the UK. The Brewery Wharf development in Leeds is a great example of good design and good building practices which together create a superb place to live. The development performed well in the recent flooding in Leeds City Centre. The attention to design and building standards ensured the amenity of residents was protected. The Brewery Wharf scheme continues to be maintained to very high standards by the Management Company.”

George McKerracher is a director at the Brewery Wharf Development and he and Diane have lived in Leeds city centre for sixteen years. We met up with him to talk about city living and Brewery Wharf’s superb reaction to the recent floods.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

constructionI’m originally from Scotland but have lived in Leeds city centre for 16 years now and we are now in our second flat in Leeds. Diane and I first bought a flat in the Quays, basically moving into the city centre to get to know the City before buying a ‘proper’ house. The idea was to get a flat for 6 months or so, settle in and then make a more permanent move. That was 16 years ago and we are still here and loving it!

Even though back then it was our first experience of city centre living we just fell in love with the city and the life.

What’s it like living in the city?

Both Diane and I work locally and sometimes need to travel and Leeds is fantastic for road, rail and airport links. So for work, being in the city centre makes things so much easier, whether you’re going to walk to work, drive or travel by train, you’ve got great access to everywhere. I’d also say that Leeds has been developed for city dwelling. There’s great places to shop, great places to eat and drink and these are all constantly upgraded and redeveloped.
It just feels like Leeds has been developed with city centre living in mind. I know there’s lots of weekend visitors and party people but it’s definitely a city that’s been built to live in. I grew up in Glasgow and that too is a fabulous City but probably not as easy to live in the city centre as Leeds is. You can get your arms around Leeds and its compact enough to have loads of variety while still being accessible without a car. And we have some incredible events right on our doorstep! The Leeds arena; good grief, I can walk for 10 minutes and see Mariah Carey perform, having a glass of wine along the way. No need to drive or take taxis, it’s just right there.

That’s great for the City! Tell me about Brewery Wharf, why is that so good?

Brewery Wharf Completed
Brewery Wharf Completed

There are a few great developments in Leeds, that’s what makes it so appealing. Diane and I have lived elsewhere in the city and we know several people living in the city centre currently, and I know I am biased, but Brewery Wharf is the Number One spot. Other developments are envious of the way it’s been both maintained and developed over the last dozen years. It’s a big development, with over 300 flats, but it always looks pristine with all public areas cleaned every single day and improvements constantly ongoing, whether this be for environmental or other reasons. The gardens have been developed and constantly upgraded, for example we’ve had olive trees planted in the last 18 months. Even Christmas lighting and that fun factor is taken to another, tasteful level.
All of these touches keep the residents in touch and keeps them caring, all of which makes Brewery Wharf a great place to live.

But there is another secret ingredient that keeps the development special; the people that work there! They have been there since day one so they also care about Brewery Wharf in the same way the residents do and they go the extra mile to make sure it works and it looks great. We have other owners on the management team and the fact that its our home means we all put the development first.
At the end of the day any purchase in the city centre is an investment. The fact that this development at Brewery Wharf is so well built and so well maintained can only be a good thing, it protects our investment!

What was Brewery Wharf’s experience of the flooding?

One word to explain how we coped with the recent floods. Exemplary. We have an underground car park and because it’s underground, clearly it’s at risk of flooding. The issue is that all developments are built with flood defences but you don’t know how good they are until they are tested. They were certainly tested this Christmas!
Well the great news is that Brewery Wharf never flooded so they all worked! That would be point number one.

Due to the severity of the flooding however, some minor water ingress did cause potentially serious issues at 3am on Boxing Day morning. Point number two therefore is that the managing agent’s contractors were then on site at 4am, and stayed there all the way through the holidays until the issues were resolved. Other developments did not fare so well, either in terms of withstanding the flood water initially, nor in terms of resolving the issue when it did happen. Several other surrounding dwellings were flooded and unfortunately remained flooded for several days. Brewery Wharf was not impacted, a great effort from both the building and the team who look after it. As i said, exemplary.

One final mention about the managing agents team. They know the development inside out and have a unique knowledge of how it all works. One point that highlights that, the flooding in the car park threatened the lifts. They recognised this, turned the lift gear off and protected the workings. When they re-instated them the engineers advised that quick thinking saved tens of thousands of pounds of damage. Damage that other developments may well have suffered.

If people were considering moving into the city centre, what would you say?

I would advise anyone to experience city centre living and its only going to develop further. 16 years later the only thing that’s changed for Diane and I is that we want to stay longer! I’m a fan of city dwelling, I’m a big fan of Leeds and I’m a bigger Fan of Brewery Wharf.

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