Brian Tanner


Brian Tanner spent eleven years in commercial banking specialising in the property sector, including Abbey National, First National Finance Corporation, Old Broad Street Securities and UDT.

In the 80's he undertook various residential developments in West London, both new build and conversion. These extended to around 300 units during the period.

In 1992 Tanner purchased the former Royal Naval Hospital at Stonehouse, Plymouth from the MOD in competitive tender supported by Scottish investors. The successful bid saw Tanner embark on the regeneration of 650,000 sq ft of largely Grade I listed buildings set in a parkland in the heart of what was at that time one the most deprived electoral wards in the UK. The walled estate offered 24/7 security which attracted both investors and occupiers. The estate was renamed The Millfields to offer a modern identity to the mixed use scheme.

The successful regeneration saw part of the site converted to re-house a nationally known private school, 120 mixed residential units, 250,000 sq ft of B1 and B2, along with a police station and local authority business start-up units run by the Millfields Trust. The project took five years and is still successful.

This led to the acquisition in 1994 of the much larger former Royal Naval Engineering College at Manadon, Plymouth which comprised 110 acres, a Grade 1 listed building 'Manadon House' and a large teaching and residential block. The acquisition had been planned to relocate the University of Plymouth however when the Funding Council blocked that move the site was broken up following the securing of a new planning permission for 600 residential units.

In 1996 Tanner and architect John Lyall were approached by Norwich City Council planners to work up a master-plan for 42 acres of the city centre bordering the river. Their proposals were adopted in 1999. During this process Tanner entered into a joint venture with Speciality Shops plc and acquired a seven acre segment of the master-planned site and worked up a detailed planning permission for 350,000 sq ft geared around the new shopping centre and high density residential on the waterfront. The proposals acted as the stimulus for the regeneration of a run-down city centre location.

During Tanner's work in Norwich he was approached by Ipswich Borough Council to look at a waterfront site known as Cranfield Mill situated on Ipswich docks. Wharfside was successful in winning a national bid for the site in 2002 for a high density mixed scheme with tower blocks of residential above a major facility for dance in Eastern England – 'Dance East' – supported by A1 and A3 space around the courtyard.

In March 2006 Wharfside were successful in a national bid to acquire 16.5 acres from Plymouth Hospitals Trust for a mixed redevelopment. Oxley and Tanner have taken the project forward through difficult market conditions and works have recently begun on Phase 1.

Tanner is now concentrating his efforts in development through Wharfside Regeneration and sees his partnership with Oxley as a vehicle for successful town centre urban regeneration projects. Transforming run down inner town centres into modern lively environments excites him.

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