Do You Need To Buy Parking For A Football Game Andrew Mason: Property Developer With An Ethical Approach

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Andrew Mason: Property Developer With An Ethical Approach

What or whose spirit was it that charmed Andrew Mason one dark and silent night as he passed the barrier around the three half-finished mills? It may sound like some kind of Edgar Allan Poe mystery but the idea that Henry Mason, who built Victoria Mills near Shipley in West Yorkshire in the mid-19th century, somehow influenced the restoration project is fascinating.

When Andrew Mason, managing director of NewMason Properties, should have been named after his wife when they married in 1993, it can’t help but inspire a sense of positive fatalism. Henry Mason, Andrew Mason, Newmason and perhaps a stone mason or two seem to have conspired in a unique £80 million investment project.

Henry Mason built his textile mills during the Victorian era, when the area was booming. Model employer, Sir Titus Salt, established his unique village of Saltire nearby with an innovative approach to providing a safe, caring and positive environment for mill workers. Titus Salt built houses and roads after his eleven children. They provided a library, baths, reading rooms, schools, a church and a mechanical institute for their workers on the basis that a good working environment is not only good for individuals but good business practice.

His influence on the textile industry was enormous, and Andrew Mason’s vision of the New Mason project began as early as four years ago. “I’m relatively flattered. I’m here purring like a Cheshire cat because this construction business is amazing. It’s incredibly rewarding to take plans and ideas and turn them into reality. Titus Salt’s mission was clear. Saltire and our mission are now similar in many ways.

“My Aunt Mary worked at the Victoria Mills and my father remembers it all very well. He worked as a joiner and remembers swimming in the canal here; for example walking 14 miles to three and sixpence. Yes, fashions change and he remembers being commissioned to do all six panels of saltire. The shift to flush doors that have now been restored to their original state is a great example of how fashion changes and comes full circle.”

But the property remains and these stunning, solid mills with their huge windows and high vaulted ceilings are being restored and preserved for future generations. They won’t be spinning alpacas or cotton, but instead housing new generations in the mellow atmosphere of living history.

“People’s needs and demands change over time. We’ve gone from offering baths and reading rooms to tennis courts, saunas and gyms, panini bars and I think a wonderful atmosphere, but we’re doing it with a sense of who we are. Here’s to it. “

Operating until the 1990s, the site occupies five and a half acres within the World Heritage Site’s buffer zone. The buildings themselves are listed and there are no cracks in the old interiors. Instead, modern planning demands for fire safety and health and safety have been integrated without compromising tradition. An interior stone staircase remains; Steel pillars still hold up the building, and the new roof comes with a 150-year guarantee that puts the whole project in perspective.

“I have two children, aged nine and 11, and I want them to be able to stand on this site and say, ‘Daddy did it.’ And that means using the right materials like oak and stone and craftsmen who take pride in their work.”

Indeed, Andrew Mason’s relationship with his employees reflected a set of values ​​that Titus Salt would have felt perfectly comfortable with. “Environment is everything. If people are happy at work, as I am, then they will be proud to use their skills and raise their game to the best of their abilities. It’s about creating the right environment for people to thrive. We want people to be happy to come to work. “

This is all well and good, say the cynics, you talk the talk but what about delivery? When it comes down to it, all this ideology flies out the window when it comes to profit, doesn’t it? Not for Andrew Mason who every Monday fills the office fridge with a variety of snack foods and drinks that his employees help themselves to; Construction workers are not forced to use the unpleasant and basic ‘thunderbox’ toilets on site but instead who ensure that proper facilities are in place.

“If you treat people with respect, they will respond to that. This is very evident because we have very few sick days and no one has left the company in the last four years since we started this project. .”

However, it would be a mistake to suggest that respect and egalitarian structures are some kind of cop-out. Andrew Mason does not shy away from difficult decisions and is not afraid of conflict. It is clear that he does not need personal ego or bully to prove himself. He is a clear example of the saying that it is the humblest who are the greatest true contributors.

Andrew Mason estimates that his enviable record came not as a result of his own individual skill, but rather because of the entire peer group that existed around his workers. People talk and chat with him; They meet him on site every day and share football scores as well as new ideas about development. Andrew was delighted when the Investors in People assessment team revealed that management, employees, sub-contractors and suppliers all expressed the same positive view of the company.

Andrew Mason is living his dream on two levels: he is restoring and renovating the mills that surrounded him from his childhood, and he is implementing a conceptual design that, while fashionable in the 1850s, has managed to shape it to meet today’s business environment.

“It’s all about positive reinforcement. When we were working at Byron Hall in Bradford, we were very sensitive to diversity issues so we went and knocked on people’s doors. We explained what we were doing and why, and we visited mosques and worked Done. We made an agreement not to take any deliveries on Friday to avoid parking problems for Friday prayers. A little thought goes a long way.

“We’ve all seen enough contradictions and conflict in the mid-sixties when people were encouraged to incompetence and the ‘them and us’ attitude led to the breakdown of labor relations leading to the winter of discontent. I can. Honestly remember asking anyone to do anything on the site. I Have asked them. I’ve never adopted the ‘I’m the managing director. You do as I say’ approach because it reins people in. It’s much better to try to bring them in and show them you care and respect them.

“There’s a guy here right now whose wife, I know, is going to be made redundant and it’s going to be hard on them. We’re going to have to cut back a little bit there. Another guy is getting an MBA. He gets study leave. But he’s on his vacation. No effect. If he only gets study leave, his wife will never see him and he is entitled to spend time with her.”

In Numaison lexicon, the values ​​of a bygone era are being preserved not only in the fabric of the buildings but also in the immense goodwill and loyalty evident in the staff. It’s telling that Andrew Mason adds: “It’s not all about philanthropy. Goodwill is repaid tenfold on the site.

“At 18 I worked on North Sea rigs and learned about tough, tough Glaswegians, then concrete factories and then social housing schemes in places like Costa Rica, Chile, Nicaragua and South Africa where I saw the dire plight of humanity. What I got here and what I I am very grateful for what has been achieved.

“We are building something at Victoria Mills; a community that people want to live in and enjoy. Like the Red Indians, who have no word for ‘ownership,’ I see myself as a steward. My name may be on the title deed, but we own this property. Don’t really take ownership. We are protecting the industrial heritage for our children and our children’s children. What we do today will affect many generations to come, and we are leaving it in a better condition than when we found it.”

Property, bricks and mortar, has a satisfying concreteness about it that is missing from other investment portfolios. In the hands of Andrew Mason must have been invested money that lasted and needed as fundamentally as houses—or mills.

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