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‘Cambridge is resilient and weathers downturns in the economy better than a lot of places’

In the second of our Q&A columns sponsored by Carter Jonas, we ask Lucy Atkins, an associate in the firm’s commercial team, about the property industry and what she loves about working and living in Cambridgeshire.

Lucy Atkins, of Carter Jonas
Lucy Atkins, of Carter Jonas

How did you get into your industry?

While studying geography at university, I gained some work experience with two surveying practices. I really enjoyed it and learnt about the qualification process for becoming a surveyor (the APC). Because of this, I did a masters in planning and development, which led to where I am now.

What does your job entail?

Buying and selling commercial buildings across a range of areas. I’m always speaking with our clients in both the public and private sectors, advising them on their assets and requirements.

What do you like most about it?

Talking to new people, the variety of work, and the mixture of time spent in the office at my desk and outside visiting sites.

What are the main challenges?

The work we do, particularly in the agency and investment team, is impacted heavily by market changes and political pressures. One of the biggest challenges recently has been the rise in interest rates and inflation impacting the cost of borrowing. Investors and developers have been much more cautious and risk averse.

What recent developments in your business/industry are you most excited about?

The shift in working behaviours is changing the way we view and design office space. Flexible working has led to workplaces being reimagined. We are seeing some really impressive office spaces designed to balance and encourage people’s productivity and well-being.

What opportunities/challenges do you expect in the next six months?

The life science sector in Cambridge offers a host of clients a real opportunity. Despite some challenges, it continues to grow with increasing demand from new entrants into the market.

What is the most exciting thing about doing your job in Cambridge/Cambridgeshire?

Cambridge is resilient and weathers downturns in the economy better than a lot of places. There are good levels of demand creating a need for more space, which is leading to an exciting pipeline of new development.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I’d still say passing the APC. It was just the best feeling.

What advice would you give someone starting a career in your line of work?

Get as much work experience as you can. It is a huge benefit. Meeting new contacts, and making connections, can lead to some invaluable advice. It also helped me decide which area of the industry I was most interested in.

Your favourite place in Cambridge/Cambridgeshire and why you like it?

Mill Pond in the summer months - overlooking the river and watching the punting. It is always busy with a great atmosphere. You can get drinks to go from The Mill pub too!

Your favourite local café/restaurant/gallery/attraction and why you like it?

I love Limoncello on Mill Road. It’s a small Italian delicatessen with delicious food. Everyone there is so friendly, and they have a fantastic garden where you can eat if you’re lucky enough to get a table!

Visit carterjonas.co.uk.

About Carter Jonas

Established in 1855, Carter Jonas is one of the biggest and most respected UK property partnerships. With 34 offices across England and Wales, its Cambridge hub is one of its principal locations. Its team advises and supports clients across residential sales and lettings, new homes, planning, development, commercial, property management, building consultancy, infrastructure, energy and as well as on rural matters, including estate management, sales and natural capital.

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