Newton Property Management vows to be a ‘force for good’ and installs electric vehicle charge points in car parks as first step on its green journey into the future, and joins The Herald's Climate for Change partnership.

The Herald:

Stephen O’Neill, of Newton Property Management

When Newton Property Management was incorporated in 2001 by founder Stephen O’Neill the notion of a nationwide charging system for Electric Vehicles (EVs) was the stuff of science fiction. Fast-forward to today, however, and Scotland is already set to ban sales of combustion-powered cars by 2032, with only Battery Electric Vehicles and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles allowed.

It’s a game-changing decision and one that will demand major investment in our charging infrastucture.

Thankfully, Newton – a major new partner of The Herald’s Climate for Change campaign – are leading the charge to see Scotland embrace this more sustainable, environmentally-friendly future.

The Herald:

Serving tens of thousands of customers and one of the country’s most sought-after, pro-active property factors, they have set aside an initial giveaway fund of £100,000 for the first phase of an EV charging point initiative – and want to have upwards of 50 charge points installed by 2020.

It’s a move that reflects chairman and joint managing director O’Neill’s vision to promote innovation and inspire community responsibility.

“When I started Newton, I knew a modern factor could be a force for good and for change,” he says. “We have truly shaken up the industry with our can-do, modern, friendly attitude.”

It’s this attitude that has seen Newton grow at a rate of over 10% per annum to become one of the top five privately-owned factoring companies in Scotland.

Now this same dynamism is focussed on boosting the uptake of EV charging points “We want to shake things up again and take a lead – make others think about what’s possible,” O’Neill says.

“We want to help our clients future-proof their developments and take advantage of new eco technologies, saving them money. It’s a win-win!”

He adds: “Our customers are fed up waiting for the Government to take a lead on this.” It will be a massive undertaking for Newton, which operates from three regional bases in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness, with a client portfolio that ranges from Gretna Green to Tain.

However, for joint managing director Derek MacDonald, who joined the business in 2003, the project is hugely important.

The Herald:

Derek MacDonald, above, says he and like-minded directors want to plan for the next generation.

“We are super-aware of our responsibilities to our customers and to the environment,” he says.

“We are a young, modern, family-orientated company. I can see my fellow young directors growing with the business and bringing up their young families. When I think of their future, and our customers and their families, I want to believe by taking a lead we can help make a difference to this and the next generation and their quality of life.”

However, MacDonald admits no one is “ bleary eyed” about the undertaking – there is a commercial reality driven by an eco-responsible narrative.

He points out: “Those businesses who do not step up and take responsibility will eventually pay the price and lack new customers. We want to bring our unique vision and service delivery to as many customers as quickly as possible and we know how to do this, by not only driving change, but anticipating change and then meeting demand.”

The Herald:

Ross Watt, Managing Director-North Scotland for Newton Property Management

He believes installing EV charging points in customers’ developments is a case in point.

“All Scottish cities are moving towards emission control zones to restrict the use of older vehicles ... and moving quickly. If you truly want to protect your investment and futureproof your development, come and talk to us, we have the solutions for you. We are fully committed to delivering change.”

He notes the campaign for change may start off with only one charge point in a visitor space in a car park for a block of flats – but if it’s a choice between none and one, the first one can convince someone to buy an EV.

The Herald:

Kirsten O'Neill, Director at Newton Property Management

“Then we install the second and a third,” he says. “It’s classic chicken and egg scenario. We are talking to owners’ associations in several large city centre developments throughout the country with a view to pre-wiring electricity supplies to every car park space. Hundreds of them.

“Our customers aren’t daft. They know they will have to do this at some point and we will help them deliver this and secure their investment.”

Ultimately, he notes, the initiative has to be a joint effort by customers and the industry.

“The biggest single privilege of being a property factor has to be the ability to help guide the narrative. Call it a form of persuasive soft power. It also has to be our customers who decide what happens – it’s their properties, after all. But wouldn’t you rather work with a factor who has a clear ‘2020’ vision?"

The Herald:

William Cowie, of Newton Property Management

The Herald:


Newton's management portfolio is nationwide and consists of 20,000-plus factored clients and 500 letting clients. The company insures property with a reinstatement value in excess of £2 billion.
Turnover for 2019 is expected to be £3.5 million with transactional cash flow in excess of £20 million
It has five directors, three of whom are under 40 years old.

Its multi-pronged eco initiative sets out clear and achievable objectives by the year 2020, including:

  • Upgrading customers’ properties technologically.
  • Using spare, unused and unloved areas of ground as carbon stores.
  • Ensuring all customers’ electricity is from suppliers committed to generating electricity from  renewable sources.
  • Reducing its carbon footprint by eliminating paper correspondence in favour of emails.
  • Helping customers generate electricity from solar PV schemes mounted on their buildings.
  • Actively consulting with customers and carrying out feasibility studies.

The Herald is delighted to welcome new partner Newton Property Management to its Climate For Change campaign. Updates every Thursday in the Herald and quarterly in Business HQ magazine. To become a partner contact Stephen McTaggart on 0141 302 6137;