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Your Eye on the Region

Tim Bailey, head of practice at Xsite Architecture and chair of Constructing Excellence in the North East

Did you grow up in the North East or did you decide to locate here in later life?

I was born in Hartlepool during a tough period in its existence and left at 18 to study Architecture at Newcastle University. I have always stayed in and around the North East since then.

What do you think it means to be a business person in the North East of England?

Essentially being in business is the same anywhere, you have to deal with the working context. In the North East, construction is often the area which gets hit the hardest after a downturn or recession. We don’t have a robust enough regional economy.

However, we are a region built on relationships and connections and we have the opportunity in the North East to get to know people well in business, which leads to lasting friendships.

What is your favourite aspect of life in the North East?

It has to be the social life. There is such a variety of things to do and see and there is always somewhere new to discover. We have endless amazing beaches and stunning countryside on our doorstep.

Where do you like to eat out?

Kaltur, a Spanish wine bar and restaurant located on High Bridge Street, Newcastle, is a favourite, as is Cook House, run by a former colleague at Xsite Architecture, Anna Hedworth, who set off on a new adventure to open her own restaurant back in 2014. Originally housed in two shipping containers, it provides great food in a quirky environment.

Are the people really friendlier?

I think that there are friendly people wherever you go. It all depends on what your impression of friendliness is. We are a close community however, if you get on the wrong side of people a relationship can soon turn sour.

Do you think living and working in the North East offers the same opportunities as elsewhere?

This is contextual but the opportunities of working in the North East are what you make of them. The task that all business leaders have is to always inspire and create opportunities within younger people.

Have you had any experience of working elsewhere and how did it compare?

Yes – I have worked in Liverpool and London for a short while and enjoyed both experiences. London was ‘too much’ if I thought about living there long term. I like the North East because I have a deep rooted connection with the region and to where I work.

Liverpool is comparable to the North East, the people have a similar outlook on life and are passionate about their region much like ourselves.

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