Just like her namesake Sunny Crouch has been an essential ingredient in the growth of east London.
As a key member of London Docklands Development Corporation she helped create the financial hub we know today.
But now she says Brexit has come at a good time to give it some “breathing space”.
“I’m old enough to remember how very well we got on before and how irritated we were by all of the legislation,” she said.
“Why do we need these strutting nincompoops in Brussels telling us what our laws are?
“Immigration has been overdone and the Isle Of Dogs, where I live, is a very good example of that.
“I think there will now be a period of slowdown and that’s not a bad thing on the island where property is shooting up.
“We need time to get the infrastructure in to cope with it.
“It is a worry that we haven’t got the roads, schools and hospitals.”
Sunny will be turning her piercing gaze on entrants in The Wharf Property Awards 2017 and, like the midday sun, will not let anyone hide behind a facade.
“I’m not interested in how shiny their desks or offices, or even faces are,” she said.
“I want them to impress me with their professionalism.”
“Agents are the essential life blood of development. If you can’t sell it, you can’t build it.
“But they need to demonstrate to me that they understand their customers and are listening to them and have adapted their services to be more user-friendly.”
She first came to shine her light on the barren Docklands in 1988 after being headhunted by the corporation.
“I was director of tourism and marketing for the City of Portsmouth and was credited with transforming its economy,” she said.
“LDDC heard about it and rang me. I had never heard of them but came up for the interview and was very excited by it.
“I wanted to know if I could play hardball with the big boys because I had been a big fish in a small pond and this was a jolly big pond.
“My first trip to Canary Wharf was in wellies and a hard hat to look down 60 feet to the foundations of One Canada Square.”
Sunny moved to the Isle Of Dogs, with her husband visiting on weekends and, over the next decade, worked as a member of the corporation’s executive management team.
She had responsibility for inward investment, marketing, public affairs, events, exhibitions, sponsorship, visitor and tourism development and arts and cultural development.
Managing a team of 70, she had a £6million budget at her disposal and helped deliver 24million sq ft of office and retail space, 110,000 homes and 140,000 jobs to the area as well as schools, colleges, a university and health centres.
“It was that rounded approach to regeneration that worked,” she said.
“It is not just offices or homes but the whole package.”
These days she splits her time between London and Portsmouth and holds roles as a governor of the University Of East London, chair of Caledonian Wharf Management Company, non-executive director of Places for People Group and director of its retirement benefit scheme.
“I have a lot of interest and joy in the area,” she said. “I describe Docklands as having a lot of my life juice. I still love it and get a buzz from it.
“We have got some interesting years ahead of us but I think we will cope.”
Entries for The Wharf Property Awards 2017 are now closed but tickets for the event on May 25 are still available as are sponsorship opportunities.
Contact Jess via firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7293 2247.
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