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Harvey Bains - Estates Officer

Written by: Fiona Narburgh
Published on: 17 Mar 2023

Estates Officer at South Staffordshire Council

I’ve found my passion in property and my role helps support local businesses and the economy. 

I’m Harvey. I’ve run my own business, I’ve renovated residential properties for letting, I’ve worked in banking. Now I’m using that experience to manage our ‘estates’ - the land and property we own as a council, after friends working in councils persuaded me to apply for the public sector. 

The pandemic and the current financial climate mean it’s been a really tough time for our business community. When I visit businesses on our high streets or on business parks, I hear first-hand about the challenges they face and I signpost them to grants, loans and support that we, and other organisations, offer. 

Sometimes it’s about helping them to overcome challenges; for example, offering advice on business rates. A family printing business wanted to expand into printing vehicle graphics and needed to take on more staff, so I worked alongside my team to find them new premises. 

Another business making screws and bolts, including submarine components, had outgrown their premises so the team and I worked with them to find the ideal unit for them on one of our business parks. 

I get involved in major schemes too. We are transforming what was a dilapidated site into a supermarket and a 10,000 square feet retail unit to improve the area. 

I have a ‘locality’ role in addition to my ‘estates’ role, which primarily consists of supporting local businesses. 

I assist local communities too, however, by signposting on local issues like flooding, anti-social behaviour and potholes. I work closely with all the tiers of councils - county, district and parish - and partners, such as the police. 

Recently a run-down building was in a dangerous state, with glass hanging loose over a footpath, so I contacted our building control service partners who secured the building, and our business rates team checked the ownership. Now the owner is bringing the building into a better state. The parish council in the area were very grateful for the resolution of what had been a local issue of concern. 

I love the variety of my role. Here’s just some of the things I do in a week: preparing retail valuations, rent reviews and lease renewals; viewings - showing people round our properties; site inspections to check health and safety issues and maintenance needs of our buildings and business parks. 

I’m delighted to have moved to the public sector. My work is diverse and I get to play a role in assisting local people and local businesses thrive. 

I’m also given the flexibility to allow me to carry out the school run and spend time with my family – and that work/life balance means such a lot.Local Gov Career Guide Cover N

Jenny is featured in our Local Government Career Guide, click here to find out more about working in local government and the wide variety of career options available. 

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