What TV’s Phil Spencer really thinks of his co-presenter Kirstie Allsopp, smart meters and the housing crisis
PUBLISHED: 18:42 26 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:42 26 July 2018
TV property personality Phil Spencer from Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location was in Norwich today promoting the use of smart meters. Property editor Caroline Culot caught up with him for a quick chat afterwards.
TV’s Phil Spencer was in Norwich, the last stop on his UK tour promoting the use of smart meters, but found he was probably the hottest property around with a crowd gathering in high temperatures inside Castle Mall for a selfie with him. And gone was the trademark snazzy suit he usually wears on TV - instead, Phil was sporting a casual shirt, trousers and brogues to combat the soaring temperatures (but I spotted a suit hanging up in the office with his lunch.)
So, here’s what he had to say to my questions:
Are smart meters really going to save you money? Recent reports have said the savings are as little as £11 a year.
It’s not just about saving you money - although the figures quoted are, I believe, a lot lower - but it’s about changing people’s minds. We only have one planet so we can muck it up slowly or take a long time - or do something about it and this is an opportunity to do something about it. We don’t have sufficient renewable energy so we need to think of more ways of saving energy.
Do you, yourself, have a smart meter?
I have applied for one but I have renewable energy at my detached house, with a large garden, in the form of solar panels and a ground source heat pump so I actually produce more energy than I use.
What’s your take on how we can ease the housing crisis?
The situation we are in is a result of a series of short term housing policies, successive policies have been to get votes and keep government in power, not as a solution to the housing crisis. I have seen 25 years of short term housing policies. The number of people and the number of houses don’t stack up and it isn’t going to get any easier.
What do you think about the fact there is a large proportion of people in Norfolk who cannot afford to buy a house?
The con of living somewhere special and as beautiful as Norfolk is that people want to come to the county to visit and to live here which pushes up the prices. It’s a very delicate debate - in Cornwall, they are making it more difficult to own a second home if you are not from the area. If there is angst then the people have a right to do something about it.
Is now the right time to move?
Why wait? Interest rates aren’t going to go down, they’re only going to go up so in my opinion, it’s better to get going and lock yourself into a nice mortgage at the current rates...buy a home!
Why do you think you are still the most popular TV male property personality?
Longevity, I have been gainfully employed by Channel 4 for 18-19 years and people seem to identify with me, and with property. We don’t all want to be cooking experts, DIY experts or car drivers but we are all interested in the roof over our heads.
But when Kirstie and I started out (with Location, Location, Location), we had the pick of the formats, we were the first property show and the topics we cover are very popular.
And last...have you ever fancied your co-presenter Kirstie Allsopp?
We are pals, I stayed with her and her family recently. We were put together in a screen test for the show. But the reason why our relationship has survived longer than many marriages? The answer is that we don’t sleep together!