Regional Report: South West

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As we go to press the first independent mayor in Britain is up for re-election. On the 5th May George Ferguson will hope his efforts over the last four years will count as he seeks re-election. Mr Ferguson, probably known by many in our sector, is a past President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, co-founder of Ferguson Mann Architects in 1979 and founder of the national UK wide network of practices, Acanthus, in 1986.

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He is credited with many projects including the Bristol Millennium project and the Tobacco Factory. His latest spirited view to be expressed is on cycling, more specifically the Lycra louts. A keen cyclist himself, he’s not referring to you, only to those that mount pavements and don’t use lights or bells. More specifically he believes road insurance should be compulsory for cyclists. We believe that Mr Ferguson, with his strong business vision and his positive views on environmental issues, will have done enough. Something that cannot be said for Philip Raby who, as we go to press, was on the receiving end of a 79% no vote for the plan to have an elected major in Bath and NE Somerset.

After backing a double of Leicester to win the Premiership and Mark Selby to win the Snooker World Championships we think our £1 bet on George Ferguson is safe.

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Severn Powerhouse – what is it?

You may have heard of the Northern Powerhouse – led by the Chancellor, George Osborne, and developed by various concerned groups who aim to take advantage of all things good in the North of England, giving the business world in particular a viable alternative to London. Encouraged by early success in the North, Bristol and Cardiff city regions have developed their own version, taking the general view that there is a clear case for cities to take a greater role in their social and economic destiny.

The history books will probably be kind to George Osborne as he has done much and probably gone further than most would have thought possible on the issue of devolution. We believe that the Northern Powerhouse project has been a positive force in the North of England but many doubt that the Severn Powerhouse will have the same success and will certainly be some way off. According to the RSA City Growth Commission it is a ‘viable case for devolution’.

When asked how satisfied about public gardens and other green areas just over 77% reported medium or high level of satisfaction, compared to 48% in the North east

One Brunswick Square

Property consultants Alder King and GVA have been appointed to market 52,000 sq ft of Grade A contemporary office and retail space in Bristol’s Brunswick Square, an area fast becoming the city’s creative heartland.

One Brunswick Square is currently undergoing comprehensive speculative refurbishment and remodelling. The building will retain its Georgian red brick façade while the interior will provide four floors of highly flexible, open plan office space with exposed ceilings and services specifically designed to appeal to the city’s creative sector.

Simon Price, head of agency at Alder King, said: ‘This refurbishment is targeted at Bristol’s flourishing creative sector, which makes up an estimated 10% of the local economy and values space that is quirky and characterful.

‘The area between Newfoundland Street and Stokes Croft is already a well-established creative hub and One Brunswick Square aims to sit in the heart of this, offering space of the highest calibre behind a fully restored period façade.’

The refurbishment includes the development of new main entrance and reception area opening onto Brunswick Square and two ground floor café units. When completed in September 2016 it is expected to have a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’ and an EPC rating of B.

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Willmott Dixon focus on the South West

The privately-owned contractor and developer has been buoyed by recent successes in the South West and the leap to invest in a new office in Exeter. Recent projects included the new home of the Met office’s super computer at the Exeter Science Park and four schools in Plymouth. Managing Director of the region, Neal Stephens, said: ‘With many projects already delivered and more in the pipeline, we feel now is the right time to establish an Exeter base to serve our customers and work with our local supply chain. We’re making a strong commitment to local spend, with over 65% of project budgets designated to companies within 35 mile radius of a scheme, ensuring investment stays local to sustain jobs and support regional prosperity.’ Wilmott Dixon will be at Mixology on the 23rd June as one of our sponsors.

What is Co-working

Co-working is usually a shared office environment where the individuals are not necessarily employed by the same organisation. Attractive to individuals in the professional sector that either travel frequently or work at home. A perfect example is the impressive DeskLodge in Bristol. Very cool!

Bristol was named the UK’s first ‘cycling city’ in 2008 and was given £11 million by the Government to improve bicycle access.

The number of people riding a bike to work in Bristol now outnumbers those in Sheffield, Nottingham, Newcastle and Liverpool combined.