One of the region’s most experienced commercial property directors is to retire after 46 years in the business.

Steve Carlin retires as a director at London & Cambridge Properties (LCP) Management at the end of this month.

The retail expert began his career in general practice at chartered surveyors Frank, Wilde and Glover in 1968 before moving to the Birmingham Office of MEPC, which was based at the top of the Rotunda building, in 1973.

Twenty years later, he joined LCP in 1993 to manage its retail portfolio and has remained with the company, which is one of the UK’s largest private owners of industrial, retail and office property to let.

Mr Carlin, who has headed a £250 million portfolio of seven principle shopping centres in this region, which include the Arcadian in Birmingham, the Wulfrun Centre in Wolverhampton, Dudley’s Churchill Centre, and Aldridge Shopping Centre, as well as high streets and developments, described how much the profession has changed since he first set foot on the career ladder.

“When I started in the housing sector, it was a time when comprehensive redevelopment of residential areas was giving way to large scale projects for the modernisation of tens of thousands of homes across the country and of which Birmingham was a leading exponent,” he said.

He said while the economic cycle had continued to turn, the influence on the politics of planning policy and implementation have grown ever wider and more difficult to reconcile.

“Partnerships between private and public sector are easier in the principle than implementation,” he said.

“Whilst the urban environment is generally of a much higher standard than 45 years ago, with better design, material and technologies I do sometimes wonder whether the need for debate and consultation is used as a reasonable excuse not to decide and get on with stuff.

“Having said that, I do continue to be supportive of town and city centre improvement initiatives.”

Steve said working in the property sector is not just about bricks and mortar: it is about people.

“Property is a people business and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that we continue to provide qualitative adequate space appropriate to all users. The thing I have enjoyed most are the relationships forged over those 46 years, with colleagues, consultants and myriad business associates, many becoming valued and enduring friendships,” he added.