Matthew Battle, managing director at the UK Property Forums, speaking at MIMPIMUK

Greater Thames Valley Leaders to showcase region's offer

Representatives from the Greater Thames Valley will join forces to showcase the region’s key assets, upcoming regeneration projects and development schemes at the UK’s largest property event – MIPIMUK.

Led by UK Property Forums, the delegation comprises of LEP partners representing Thames Valley Berkshire, Buckinghamshire Thames Valley, Enterprise M3, Oxfordshire, and Solent; Basingstoke and Dean Borough Council, and industry representatives: Heathrow Airport, Thames Valley Science Park and Castle View Retirement Village in Windsor.

Matthew Battle, managing director of UK Property Forums, said: “We’re delighted to be leading this delegation which will showcase the best of the Greater Thames Valley and all it has to offer. MIPIMUK is the perfect platform to highlight the Greater Thames Valley’s assets to both international and UK investors, and we’re looking forward to opening the doors for our partners to form new connections, do deals, and explore investment opportunities and potential collaborations.

“With the highest productivity levels in the UK and a thriving property market powered by key infrastructure developments including Crossrail and potentially, the third runway at Heathrow, the Greater Thames Valley is a dynamic location with unrivalled assets. In addition to this, the region benefits from a connected, collaborative approach, which enables it to maximise the benefits of its knowledge, property and infrastructure assets to create an outstanding holistic offering which delivers great synergies and enhances each sub-region’s offering.”

With more start-ups created in the Thames Valley than anywhere else in the UK, the region is a key driver of UK productivity. Bringing together leading research institutions; great quality of living, a highly-skilled population, and unrivalled connectivity, the cluster creates an economic impact that belies its size.

The Greater Thames Valley’s Gross Value Added (a productivity measure which assesses contribution to the economy) dwarfs that of regions with similar population sizes. In 2015/2016 its GVA hit £144,939 (million) compared to the combined GVA figure for Greater Birmingham and Solihull and Greater Manchester of £99,176 (million).

Tim Smith MBE, Chief Executive, Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, said: “For the Greater Thames Valley LEPs, MIPIMUK is an important showcase for our area, our track record and our ambitions and we’re delighted to be joining our fellow LEPs and industry partners at MIPIMUK in October.

“Berkshire, at the heart of the Greater Thames Valley, is enjoying a step change in the growth and appeal of its dynamic property market. Several landmark town centre regeneration schemes are now coming to fruition in Reading, Bracknell, Slough, Wokingham and Maidenhead, while at the same time, the University of Reading has begun the construction of its new (Thames Valley) Science Park adjacent to Junction 11 of the M4. Together, these developments continue to support a vibrant economy that does much to generate economic growth, nationally.

“Our recent Growth Deal proposal to Government focussed directly on enhancing the connectivity of our sub region. A significant aspect of this is investment into strategic infrastructure projects, many of national or regional significance. The acknowledged economic benefits of such schemes reinforces the imperative to waste no more time in realising them as soon as possible. In particular we believe that a swift decision to invest in a third runway at Heathrow will strengthen the UK’s negotiating position on global trade deals.”

Richard Harrington, CEO of the Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP, said: “The investment opportunity for Buckinghamshire has been transformed in the past 12 months. Our three new Enterprise Zone sites all offer development opportunities not seen in this part of the region for a generation.

“As well as the business rate, planning and development advantages that Enterprise Zone status offers, all three are set to benefit from the increased regional infrastructure investment being driven by the National Infrastructure Commission including East West Rail and the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway improving connectivity to London, across the Thames Valley and to the world-leading Universities and research hubs.”

The Greater Thames Valley has a number of shared attributes that mark the wider region out as a key economic growth hub. Benefits include unrivalled international and local connectivity, a highly-skilled population, outstanding education and research assets, quality housing stock, high growth economic hubs, and a situation at the heart of the South East UK creative cluster.

In addition to highlighting and showcasing this highly attractive broader, connected offer, each LEP area within the Greater Thames Valley has specific attributes that they will be looking to promote at MIPIMUK.

• Key assets that Berkshire will be promoting, include Reading’s new c£200million multi-use development, Royal Elm Park, which includes plans to build 630 new homes on the site alongside 18,000sq m of new public space; the Thames Valley Science Park; new Grade A office space that is being developed in Reading; and Bracknell’s new £240 million town centre The Lexicon.

• Buckinghamshire’s offer will include a focus on three strategic sites in the Aylesbury Vale area that have successfully secured Enterprise Zone status. The strategically located zones which sit in a high employment area at the heart of ‘Gold Triangle’ of Cambridge, Oxford, and London with easy access to the M1, M40 and main motorways at Silverstone, Westcott Venture Park and Arla/Woodlands. In total, the Enterprise Zone designation will cover over 96 hectares of commercial land with the potential to create over 8,000 new jobs in high performance technology and motorsport; space propulsion and environmental engineering; and agri-food and human health sectors. The LEP will also outline opportunities connected to the new Handy X Hub - a brand new multi-use development being created at a site just off junction 4 of the M40, which forms a new gateway into High Wycombe.

• Enterprise M3 will promote its outstanding multi-site Enterprise Zone, which will be based at Basingstoke, Whitehill and Bordon, Chertsey, within the ‘Sci-Tech Corridor’, an economic asset of national importance and home to thousands of innovative, high-tech, world-leading companies in areas including digital media, 5G and cyber security. The sites are set to enable the development of 211,600 sq m of new commercial floor space, alongside the creation of 214 new businesses.

• Oxfordshire will focus on its thriving knowledge and sci-tech economy, including key assets including Milton Park Enterprise Zone, and world-leading sci-tech and business campus, Harwell, a joint venture between Harwell Oxford Developments Ltd, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the UK Atomic Energy Authority, home to £1 billion of research infrastructure. Other key property assets include Northern Gateway, Oxpens, Oxford Parkway and Bicester and Didcot Garden Towns.

• Solent will promote ambitious growth plans to exploit and grow its existing assets, including transport and energy infrastructure investments in Portsmouth Dock, and the new Enterprise Zone at former military airfield Daedalus on the Gosport peninsular, which has an emphasis on engineering and aviation and aerospace.

Alongside the LEP partners, Basingstoke and Dean Borough Council, will promote new developments and upcoming regeneration projects across the region, including a new leisure and designer outlet destination that is being delivered by leading retail property investment platform, NewRiver REIT. Other key schemes include a speculative office development to promote Basing View as a key business location by developers Abstract Securities. The proposed scheme will offer a cost per work station (based on one person per 8 sq m) from only £3,000 per annum.

For more information on the delegation’s attendance at MIPIMUK, please visit: www.ukpropertyforums.co.uk

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