Bill Lightfoot MRICS

Director - Development Consultancy

When I’ve shut the office door behind me- you’ll find me with my eccentric family and disobedient dogs or at Hythe squash club or in fact anywhere they serve a good Sauvignon Blanc!

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My grandfather, Robert Guy Hobbs, introduced me to Hobbs Parker when I was two years old, when he sat me down 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. My father followed my Grandad into the Managing Partner’s chair and 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, considering the temptations available there,  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! But I hope to put that right soon with planning permission to build a new Para 80 house on my small farm. 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 nonetheless! 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 building a remarkably successful local estate agency business with the help of some very bright and determined colleagues. Mindful of the great history and reputation of the firm, I have always 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.

A few years ago, I passed the Estate Agency reins to Alex Davies and decided to focus full-time on the world of development. Alex has since taken the estate agency business from strength to strength.

I have always had a strong interest in architecture and design and in fact had I had the patience for the long technical road, I might have liked to have been an architect. But now I enjoy providing detailed advice to land owners and property developers in all areas of the business, including planning, valuation, promotion, sales and purchase, legal agreements and a bit of honest realism when required! It is a very interesting specialism, not least because of the financial sums involved, but also because it is not something that can easily be learnt from books and lectures but only through gritty experience and the wisdom of others.

All in all, my work at Hobbs Parker manages to keep me out of mischief most of the time. However, when I am not at work, you will find me mostly walking the dogs in the hills and woods around Brook, huffing and puffing around the squash courts of Hythe, skiing whenever I can, and merrily eating and drinking with my friends and family.

Blog articles featuring Bill

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Outlook - Summer 2024

Top tips for selling land from Matthew Sawdon. Charlotte Bromley reviews changes to Permitted Development Rights and advice from Jon Rimmer and Sam Snart on battery storage developments.

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Ashford Borough Council opens 'Call for Sites' Consultation

Ashford Borough Council is seeking suitable sites for inclusion in their Local Plan Review.  Landowners have until the 20th November 2023 to put land forward for potential development.

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Ten beautiful vineyards well worth visiting near to Ashford and Tenterden

Watch out France! Kent is blessed with many wonderful vineyards – there are over 50 in Kent alone. Here our some close to our offices in Ashford and Tenterden.

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Development Sites

We are currently in the process of marketing a site for 87 new homes on the edge of New Romney at a guide price of £5,000,000. The market is strong for this type of development […]

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Canterbury City Council - an unusual call for planning sites

Not your usual Call For Sites! Canterbury City Council have opened a further call for sites as part of their Local Plan review, although rather than looking for housing land, this request is much greener. […]

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Development land market in the pandemic

Well as it happens, I am pleased to say that Jon Rimmer, Sam Snart and I have been incredibly busy, and the development world has kept on turning. It’s populated by optimistic, resourceful and determined […]

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How I nearly made a pig's ear of selling my own house

Have you ever asked for advice and then ignored it? I guess we all have. Hobbs Parker was founded by my great-great-great-grandfather in 1850. My Dad worked here for 42 years and I’ve been working […]

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Land and property market has woken up

The Friday after the General Election, when we woke up to an 80-seat majority for the Conservatives, three and a half years of weak government came to an end. And with it a large dose […]

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The History of W & B Hobbs and The Hobbs Parker Group

This clip from the Kentish Gazette dated 28th August 1849 casts doubt on the firm’s long-held belief that W & B Hobbs was established in 1850. It has piqued my interest in the early years of our […]

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A development opportunity half done!

Congratulations, you did it. Your local authority
 has granted you planning permission for development. It’s in your hand, signed. The corks are popping! Hold on just a minute, because as well
 as you’ve done so far, […]

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The Best Restaurants in Kent and East Sussex

This article was written a few years ago and some of the details may be out of date. Please contact the restaurants for further information before travelling. The next best thing to eating good food, […]

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The best pubs in and around Ashford and Tenterden

When I was young going to the pub generally meant me and my siblings sitting in the beer garden squabbling over a pack of Ready Salted whilst my parents nipped in for a pint and […]

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The best beaches in Kent and East Sussex

We explore the best beaches in Kent and East Sussex — for your children, dogs and foodie friends — as we work our way round the South East’s beautiful coastline. It’s a funny thing that […]

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