Right climate for Midlands plc as London and South East overheat?
Innes England director Tim Garratt says that there is even more evidence that the general markets in London and the South East are over-heating, with the exception of trophy assets, which continue to buck any trend.
Midlands plc therefore is really well placed to capture the overspill.
“Seeing a number of developers and investors moving money to more affordable places, the Midlands is in the right place at the right time and I truly believe that the region is poised for success,” he said.
“So, we have the sites, we have the opportunities – but unless our infrastructure is right, we won’t be able to take the opportunities. Leicester is around an hour to London and Nottingham and Derby are one and a half. These are acceptable limits of travel time.
“Of course, Nottingham’s investment in infrastructure should reap rewards in the near future. And of course, technology playing a part – agile working is going to become the norm, so it doesn’t matter where you work. However, if you do want somewhere – why don’t you do that centrally? And why don’t you do that in the Midlands?
“Looking elsewhere, Bristol is having a good time and Birmingham has its colours nailed to the mast on HS2. But the golden triangle of Nottingham, Derby and Leicester, is a powerful force. We have good people, talented people and compared to the south, the Midlands is affordable.
“And of course, the Midlands are a great place to live – as well as work. House prices n the Midlands are affordable and our commute times – an average of 15 to 20 minutes – are favourable to commuters of the South East.
“There are a number of great opportunities in the three cities – Nottingham has an enterprise zone, Derby has land being released by the NHS and rail industries while Leicester has the parks between it and the motorway.
“A recent Innes England client acquired a Leicester office block seeing an opportunity to offer rents of one-tenth of St Pancras rents – 60 minutes away.
“However, despite the huge opportunities, our local authorities, must have a ‘can do’ attitude. They are getting there but can learn lessons from Manchester and Birmingham – which are not afraid to make things happen. Getting a ‘yes’ is the order of the day. Mayor of Leicester Sir Peter Soulsby is a great example of a ‘doer.’
“And collaboration between the cities would be good too. For MIPIM UK this October, the mighty Liverpool and Manchester are joining forces. It proves that despite the politics, cities can collaborate to benefit their region. The Midlands can – and should – learn from this.”