Regeneration consultancy

Moseley campusBrownfield development is now the focus in preference to further incursions in to the greenbelt but as the UK population grows this will not satisfy the demand for new houses, employment and leisure facilities. Bringing fresh life to a derelict building or site alleviates some of the pressure on the greenbelt. With the Local Plan process underway for many Councils it may well be late 2016 or 2017 before they have theirs in place. In the interim Government has sought to encourage reuse of existing property through initiatives such as Amendments to the General Permitted Development Order 1995 so changing from an office use to a residential use is made easier although such initiatives are time limited – this one is only available until 30 May 2016.

Most of our buildings are developed with limited “life expectancy”. In the world of today we are seeing unprecedented changes – twenty years ago few used e-mail now where would we be without it! Nothing is forever and thinking is more short term – not necessarily the best way forward but that is how it is. In our view property needs longer term horizons to justify the capital outlay so getting it right at the outset is clearly critical. The trick is future proofing and to factor in some flexibility to enable buildings to adapt to your changing world and what we need them to deliver. We cannot be certain of what the future holds but keeping an open mind is essential.

Rugeley Cooling towersOur High Streets continue to evolve as Click and Collect and online shopping grow exponentially. Mary Portas the “Queen of Shops” was commissioned by Government and she produced the “Portas Review” in 2011 that looked at the future of our High Streets. Amongst her 28 recommendations she said putting the heart back in to our high streets was central to their continued relevance as they needed to be “re imagined as a destination for socialising, culture, health, wellbeing, creativity and learning”. Solutions she identified included BIDS [Business Improvement Districts] – we are experts on such initiatives – our MD was one of the team that brought BIDS to Birmingham over a decade ago and the creation of visionary town teams [our MD is Vice Chair of Kenilworth Town Centre Partnership established in 2006]. Mary Portas went on to promote the idea of Town Pilots to take the ideas forward and at Boston Fieldgate we advise clients in a number of the Portas Pilot Towns including Leamington and Wolverhampton.

For regeneration to be successful requires not just a vision but the skills and knowledge to understand how to deliver viable solutions with an eye to “future proofing” for the longer term. Integrating any project in to its surrounding environment needs to be undertaken carefully so that is not an “island” as the benefits of investment can have a catalytic effect across a broader area. Often is the case that the neighbours then invest in their property as a consequence and this gains momentum to the benefit of all.

As a business Boston Fieldgate has seen the real added value that can be brought to the well being our towns and cities through partnerships not just of the public and private sectors but the skilled professionals in the teams that are a part of the process. We promoted the idea and secured funding for the University of Warwick Business School to undertake a piece of research entitled “Regeneration – building in economic resilience” that looked at the Waitrose effect of opening a store in Kenilworth a town that has weathered the storm of recession better than most as a consequence.

We work with clients such as The Moseley Community Development Trust in Birmingham and were part of a team that looked at the options, feasibility and viability of creating a “Village campus in Moseley”. Our client has already created pioneering initiatives such as co worker space as part of their remit to build employment in this key suburb of the city as well as integration with the community with the other facilities they offer.

For independent expertise and advice call us on 01926 852199 or e-mail us at to arrange an initial confidential consultation.

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