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James Evans

James Evans is head of commercial property at Halls Commercial in Shrewsbury, and he has over 30 years' experience in the industry.

HOW HAS YOUR COMPANY, AND/OR YOUR OWN ROLE, BEEN IMPACTED BY THE COVID CRISIS? "Every day is a school day" is my phrase when referring to the effect of Covid on the commercial property market. It has been a steep learning curve adapting to occupier and client requirements, which have been heavily influenced by a factor in the market we have never experienced before.

HAS THE FALLOUT FROM THE PANDEMIC CREATED ANY NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU AND YOUR COMPANY? Yes, clients have been confronted with short and medium-term decision making relating to ongoing property requirements particularly in the office sector, which has been influenced by the work from home culture and the retail and leisure sector, which has had to adapt to national and local lockdowns. As a practice we have had to offer a professional hand holding service to our clients as much as possible.  

WHAT’S YOUR VIEW OF ZOOM/TEAMS MEETINGS – CAN THEY EVER TAKE THE PLACE OF FACE-TO-FACE CONTACT? Call me old school, but I feel we have all had enough of Zoom & Teams meetings! Face to face meetings offer a far more personal environment and allow people the opportunity to express their advice and opinions far better.


WHAT ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS OR MILESTONES OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? During the last few years, I have specifically focused on enhancing our practice’s property services nationally rather than just locally and in the last 12 months particularly, it has given me a lot of pride that as a team we have offered our clients advice on properties from as far and wide geographically as Glasgow in the north, all the way to Newton Abbot in Devon, while also retaining our strong local and regional influence.

ANY PARTICULARLY FUNNY STORIES DURING YOUR CAREER? I was with a client on a property inspection and having enquired with the occupier on knocking the door if we could access the property and him then willingly saying “yes”, we then entered one of the bedrooms to find the occupant’s partner was in the bed and she just decided to get out of bed completely naked and walk past us - the client and I didn’t know where to  avert our eyes!

PET HATES? Dogs, especially on property inspections!


HOW DO YOU RELAX AWAY FROM WORK? I love sport and socialising and this is how I spend most of my downtime and also catering for my two demanding children! (Love them to bits really!).

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE SHROPSHIRE BUSINESS COMMUNITY? It is so welcoming and so many of my business relationships have developed into long term friendships.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT MOST PEOPLE PROBABLY WOULDN’T KNOW: I have a strong passion for Haribos and sweets in general as the office will tell you, so hide your sweets!

YOU CAN TAKE ONE BOOK, ONE FILM AND ONE CD ONTO A DESERT ISLAND – WHAT WOULD THEY BE? Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - because I travel every day with them! Any of the James Bond films as I model myself on him! A Genesis Album - I love Phil Collins!

FIVE DREAM DINNER PARTY GUESTS, DEAD OR ALIVE? Phil Collins - for some background music;  Pelé - as he’s the greatest footballer in the world; Morecambe and Wise - for some comedy; Sir Garfield Sobers - the greatest cricketer in the world; and Donald Trump and Boris Johnson - to understand how they ever got elected! By the way, my maths is not good as this is seven but Morecambe and Wise come as a pair, like Trump and Johnson! (I hasten to add I am not political!) 

WHAT WOULD YOU COOK FOR THEM? I would invite them in ten years’ time to dinner as my next ambition in life is to get on Masterchef within ten years following some training at SCAT as I currently can only master beans on toast! Watch this space...

AND FINALLY . . . WHAT DO YOU THINK THE NEXT 12 MONTHS HAS IN STORE FOR YOU, AND YOUR BUSINESS? The next 12 months will continue to be interesting with the fallout from Covid as we seek to adapt to our clients' requirements. As a practice our intention is to grow both geographically and in numbers within the department. I’ve never stopped being ambitious and will continue to be so. I also have the job of captaining the Church Stretton Cricket Club for the next 12 months! Wish me luck.