CHARTERED surveyor and estate agent Bradley Hall is enjoying an unprecedented period of growth with a new head office in Newcastle, the recent launch of two financial subsidiaries and further ambitions to grow the business to 50 staff over the next 18 months.

One of the architects of this growth is Peter Bartley, originally from Chester-Le-Street, who has been with Bradley Hall all his professional life.

He was one of the company’s first employees, joining the business as a junior chartered surveyor in 1991 just after it was set up by the two founding partners.

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Both original partners have now left the business and Mr Bartley, a St Leonard’s Catholic School old boy, and member of the Parent Teacher Association at the Durham school, is joint majority shareholder of the business with managing director Neil Hart.

He said: “I have always felt that there was a lot I could bring to the business.

"From the very beginning I wanted to take a dynamic approach, lead from the front and be at the forefront of the industry.

"I think we’ve achieved this and we now have a very strong regional presence with ambitious plans to continue growing.”

True to his word, Bradley Hall has undergone a period of growth in the last 12 months.

2016 represented a record-breaking number of commercial and residential deals and significant growth in the property management services business. Employing 30 staff, the aim is to increase this to 50 across its North-East offices over the next 18 months.

The business is currently managing a portfolio of more than 600 commercial and residential properties with a rising rent roll of more than £5m a year.

To top this off, Bradley Hall recently relocated its main office to Hood Street, in Newcastle, to go with offices in Durham, Gosforth, Morpeth and Alnwick, as well as launching financial services subsidiaries BH Financial and BH Mortgage.

Mr Bartley said: “It’s been a tremendously exciting time for the business but I believe it’s important to remember to give back and support those projects close to your heart.

“This has always been my approach.

"However, my passion has been the business itself.

"Business is about self-interest, I was very focused on work, probably a little too much.”

Mr Bartley had a shock after attending a health check on a whim six years ago when he was 38, when he discovered that his cholesterol levels were sky high.

He said: “I’ve always considered myself to be fit, playing football twice a week together with a bit of running; I confidently had a free health check on a whim after eating a pasty.

“I’ve always blamed the pasty for the shock cholesterol result, which put me in the dangerous bracket for a heart attack.”

Following the result, Mr Bartley changed a number of habits, including eliminating pints after work, altering other elements of his diet, being a little more focused on his fitness, and in the last 18 months he has taken up triathlons.

He said: “I’m very happily married and have four children, twin eight-year-olds Henry and Florence, Beatrice 12, and Alice, the eldest at 14.

"It’s given me a less selfish businessman’s perspective on life.

“I want to be fit and well for them but I also don’t want to be solely focused on work.”

About four years ago, Mr Bartley was at a golfing fundraiser and he met Doug Long, chief executive of Heel & Toe North-East children’s charity.

He said: “Doug and I share a love of cycling and after visiting Heel & Toe and having the opportunity to meet some of the amazing young people they help, I began to assist in helping them raise money, and was very flattered to be made a trustee of the charity.”

The pair took part in a charity bike ride from the heel to the toe of Southern Italy, a 350km challenge on behalf of Heel & Toe.

Mr Bartley has taken a personal interest in helping the charity further by supporting their launch of the Heel & Toe Footprints Appeal, which is aiming to raise £280,000 to renovate a new base for the charity.

The building in Perkinsville, acquired by Bradley Hall, includes the North-East’s only fully equipped therapy centre where a large number of families with disabled children have the benefit of accessing a hydro-pool offered for use with therapist-client sessions, which is unique to the North-East.

Mr Bartley has already donated more than £17,500 from Bradley Hall, which includes proceeds from a charity horse racing event and is keen to help further.

He said: “I particularly like Heel & Toe because I’ve been and met everyone there and experienced what they do for the young people and their families.

“I see a lot of companies get involved with fundraising events, which are often for good causes but for those donating are just a name.

"Don’t get me wrong that is great too; but I really like the feeling of understanding how the cash is helping.

“We’re asking local communities and businesses to get involved in our Footprints Appeal.

"We have a range of donation options for businesses who wish to help; from making Heel & Toe their charity of the year; to sponsoring a child and receiving regular photos and updates on their progress; to sponsoring a ‘footprint’ for the feature mosaic wall, which is pride of place in the new building.”

Five minutes with... Peter Bartley

Favourite North-East building and why? Probably Durham Cathedral. It inspires me every time I run past it on my training sessions around the city.

What was your first job and how much did you get paid? My first real job was with Bradley Hall and I got paid £600 per month. Prior to that I used to sell printed t-shirts and had a sandwich round business around the local industrial estates, both of which probably lost me money but did teach me some good lessons.

What is the worst job you've had? I worked at Washington Services, selling teas and coffees for one summer while at university and ended up leaving after four days. It did, however, inspire me to work much harder just in case I ended up having to work there full-time.

What would you cook for me if I came around for dinner? Steak and chips with a peppercorn sauce.

What would your superpower be? Reading people’s minds.

Name four people, dead or alive, who would be at your perfect dinner party: Donald Trump, to provide the laughter; Sir Bradley Wiggins, to provide the cycling stories; Delia Smith, to cook the meal and enlighten us on football management; and Frank Sinatra, for a bit of after-dinner crooning.

Most expensive thing you've bought - other than car or house - and how much? Probably my road bike. However, I can’t say how much it was in case my wife reads this article.

Who is the best person to follow on Twitter and why? Unfortunately I don’t have a Twitter account.

Favourite book? The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of A Window And Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson.

When did you last cry? Probably when my wife told me we were having twins and then when the twins were born. Both for different reasons of course!

What is your greatest achievement? Obviously building the business but I do enjoy raising the profile for Heel &Toe.

What's the best piece of advice in business you've ever been given? Just buy it.

Favourite animal and why? I’m not really keen on animals as I’m so busy with children, family-life and business, but I did quite enjoy horse riding when I was younger, which is now a passion of one of my daughters.

Most famous person on your mobile phone? All the famous people I know tend to be in the North-East or have been in the North-East who I have done business with. I couldn’t possible disclose who.

What was the last band you saw live? Justin Bieber with my teenage daughters.

Describe your perfect night in: Steak and chips, a nice bottle of red wine and a comedy on the TV.

In another life I would be... Probably a professional cyclist or sportsman.

Who would play you in a film of your life? Probably Leonardo DiCaprio after seeing him in The Wolf of Wall Street.

What irritates you? I am quite tolerant of most things but probably someone who says 'I can’t do that'.

What's your secret talent? Being able to do a deal when most people can’t.