The Property & Development Quarterly Group (PDQ), held its third lunch and networking event at Wyboston Lakes yesterday. Over 70 delegates heard from the Home & Communities Agency (HCA), Bedford Borough Council and the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) on the development opportunities in Bedfordshire and across the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor.
Catherine Dixon from the HCA gave an informative talk about the Home Building Fund and Housing Infrastructure Fund and the financial support that the HCA can give to support house builders for plots from 5 units up to high volume projects, together with delivering infrastructure to support a strong future pipeline of housing supply.
The CEO of Bedford Borough Council, Philip Simpkins, gave a passionate talk on why Bedford has so much to offer to new businesses, giving examples of the ‘can do’ attitude and the growth the Borough has been active in generating along with the improvement of facilities for the residents of Bedford and the surrounding area.
Alastair Gordon, Study Director and Senior Local Government Advisor at the National Infrastructure Commission, gave a very thought provoking analysis of the very serious issues that Government, Local Authorities and the private sector will need to address if it wants to maximise its potential for economic growth in the region. The NIC is due to publish its final recommendations on the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor before the Budget in November. It’s Interim Report published in November 2016 suggested that the region faces a chronic undersupply of homes made worse by poor east-west transport connectivity with that shortage putting sustained growth at risk. The Interim Report stated that the shortage was already increasing costs for businesses and diminishing their ability to attract employees at all levels – including the recruitment and retention of globally mobile talent. Only with an integrated and ambitious strategy to deliver new homes, connectivity and opportunities could it realise its full potential.
Richard Millard, Managing Partner and Construction Lawyer at Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors, chaired the event and commented afterwards “The organisers of PDQ, which include Geoffrey Leaver Solicitors, are delighted at the continued success of these events, which are all about providing knowledge and thought leadership to help achieve real and sustained economic growth in our region. The speakers today gave a really positive message as to the opportunities that this region has to become a real focal point within our economy for national and international trade and economic growth, whilst at the same time looking to improve the quality of life for the people living here.”