Top ranking for commercial property

Oldham Business Edge magazine. Breakey & Nuttall. PIC shows L-R: Joanne Nuttall, Glenn Drake-Owen and Chris Breakey.

CHARTERED surveyors and property specialists Breakey & Nuttall have reported more sales and lettings in the past year of commercial and industrial property in Oldham than any other firm. Activity tracked across the UK by property industry researchers, CoStar, shows they were involved with more commercial property transactions in the borough than any other surveyors or agencies.

The news follows a year in which Breakey & Nuttall, based at Salmon Fields Business Village, have achieved a number of significant commercial property deals and also invested heavily in staff recruitment, training and development. As part of its expansion, they moved to larger offices at Salmon Fields in April 2018.

Established in 2011, the business is headed by managing partner Joanne Nuttall, partner, Christopher Breakey and commercial agency surveyor Glenn Drake-Owen, who became associate partner 2017.

They support their clients in five key sectors; commercial property management, agency services, landlord and tenant services, valuation, and business rates.

Highlighting agency activity in the past 12 months, Glenn explained: “Despite times of uncertainty, it has been our busiest year since 2011 and we have negotiated more sales and lettings and seen a significant increase in turnover”.

“Between us we bring an awful lot of experience to any property matter but we also utilise
technology such as “CoStar”. This is an invaluable tool which tracks over 400,000 UK commercial properties, recording every change in status. Changes can include availability, vacancy, occupation, lease expiry, lease commencement, demolition, sales and lettings. CoStar updates this data on an ongoing basis with over 8,000 sources, and has a research centre monitoring the market. Thousands of property professionals use it to stay informed, to find space to let or for sale, analyse properties and market performance. It’s a really useful and trusted source of information and we’re delighted to see our high level of activity accurately recorded and shown in this way.”

Glenn highlighted a number recent commercial property deals in which Breakey & Nuttall were instructed. These include the multi-million pound sale of a part let office building at Boundary Park to a Cheshire based healthcare investment company, and the sale of Prospect House on Featherstall Road South to a Manchester based investor.

Glenn said: “This type of transaction would often be dealt with by national agents, but following a meeting with the owner of the Boundary Park investment, we received immediate instructions and introduced a buyer within 3 months of commencing marketing”.

“It was quite a complex transaction, working with solicitors and the different parties involved, but upon completion the purchaser has retained our services to secure tenants for the vacant first floor.”

Prospect House, a vacant 30,000 sq ft office building in a 2.5 acre site, was sold after intensive marketing including block viewing sessions requiring several Breakey & Nuttall staff to conduct potential purchasers around.

Glenn said: “A Manchester based property company has acquired this building as part of a programme of investment in properties across Greater Manchester and Yorkshire including a tower block in Leeds. Prospect House is a good acquisition for them and also an indication of investors’
confidence in Oldham commercial property”.

Back at Salmon Fields, three Breakey & Nuttall staff are studying for MNAEA commercial agency qualifications which they are due to complete by April 2019. They are office manager Jackie Blomley, from Moorside, Oldham; agency manager Vicky Beresford, from Droylsden; and Christine McKeegan, from Failsworth, who is facilities manager.

Joanne Nuttall said: “Training and development is fundamental to the success of our business.
Following our office move earlier this year, we now have capacity to grow the business and recruit.
We will be considering all options from apprentices to graduate surveyors, and are working with
consultant Kevin Sanders of 23 Degrees on our growth plans.”

She added: “We emphasise that we are one team – there is no ‘us and them’, and this is underlined by a strong ethos on how we work and conduct business. Vicky and Christine have both worked for big city centre law firms but were looking to advance their careers within a professional team that offered training and development.”

Commercial property management is one of the key specialist services offered.

Joanne said: “We believe we are the only RICS regulated firm of Chartered Surveyors based in Oldham offering commercial property management services. We have clients based locally, nationally and from as far afield as Texas!”

“We represent Landlords in many ways – commercial property management is far more than rent
collection. Our role is to maintain asset values and build relationships between the parties.”

Compliance is a crucial element to good property management and to ensure records are up-to-date
on issues such as asbestos, gas safety, fixed wiring, EPC’s, legionella and safe water management.

“We continuously work with Landlords and Tenants to ensure they are aware of responsibilities and duties under current health and safety regulations, and to make sure the required records are in
place. Education is key, and we are faced with challenges almost daily. Some still believe “it will
never happen” but with recent statistics showing that 22,000 fires were recorded in work places in
2016 alone, with 17 deaths, health and safety must remain a priority.”

“A client recently commented that we are an investment to them, not a cost”.

She added: “Traditionally the role of a commercial management surveyor has been male-dominated, however, we have a team of females managing a portfolio of commercial property at Breakey &
Nuttall, which is important for us as a progressive employer.”

One building managed by Breakey & Nuttall is Woodend Mills in Lees, Oldham, a former textile mill, now home to over 20 businesses. The mill was once the workplace of Oldham suffragette Annie Kenney, and Breakey & Nuttall recently assisted the BBC in filming a documentary there.

Joanne said: “I’m proud that Breakey & Nuttall are involved with a building which is part of Annie
Kenney’s history. Annie, who was born in Springhead, started working part time in local mills at the age of 10. She went on to political activism and involvement with the Women’s Social and Political Union devoting her life to the fight for the right for women to vote.”

Glenn commented: “While the commercial property industry is still very male dominated, it is also important to recognise that change is happening. Our business is driven by a female managing partner which requires some strength and determination, and is an opportunity she may not have had if it wasn’t for Annie and her fellow suffragettes.”

On the afternoon of 14th December, an Annie Kenney statue is due to be unveiled in Parliament Square, Oldham. Joanne and the team will be attending the commemoration along with her clients, the owners of Woodend Mills, who will be travelling up from the south of England, especially for the occasion.


Joanne Nuttall grew up in Oldham and attended the former Grange School. She entered the property sector on a YTS course and later gained a degree from the Open University College of Estate Management. She spent 12 years working at Oldham-based Ryder & Dutton and 3 years with Roger Hannah & Co, before setting up Breakey & Nuttall in partnership with Christopher Breakey.

Christopher Breakey grew up in Sheffield, studied Estate Management in London and arrived in Oldham in 1983 to take up a role as graduate surveyor at Ryder & Dutton. He qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 1988 and is now an RICS Registered Valuer. He spent some years with Roger Hannah & Co and also “Clientside” with an industrial property company.

Glenn Drake-Owen grew up in Littleborough and attended Roch Valley High School then studied business and finance at Hopwood Hall College. He joined the property industry in his 20s. Prior to joining Breakey & Nuttall, he worked for Pugh & Co and has considerable experience as a property auctioneer. He has worked in the Oldham area for over 15 years.

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