Covid 19 has forced us all to reconsider our view of the world. But I can report that my view of the strategic planning world hasn’t altered. I’m still in no doubt that sweeping changes are necessary. More than ever, the planning system needs leadership on the big issues.
The Oxford-Cambrdge Arc has established a critical mass which is gaining momentum, with the core science, technology and engineering locations of Oxford, Cambridge and Milton Keynes reinvigorating the wider region. These three local economies have been very important in determining the success of the Arc over the past five years.
The Inspector’s letter into the North Essex Authorities’ Section 1 Local Plan finally dropped this week and it wasn’t entirely what the authorities were hoping for. The two largest Garden Communities at West of Braintree and Colchester / Braintree Borders have both been found unsound and will now need to be removed from the Plan. It isn’t all bad news, as the Authorities’ vision for the third Garden Community, Tendring / Colchester Borders, will find its way into the adopted Development Plan.
The embedded culture of collaboration and innovation in the science and technology sector has been fundamental to the advances made towards combatting Covid-19. The evidence across the Oxford – Cambridge Arc - ranging from diagnostic testing, manufacturing processes and potential vaccines - illustrate the power of the cluster.
Bidwells launches its latest Our View on Offices and Labs research, Spring 2020. Take up across the Oxbridge Arc was 1.4m sq ft in 2019, above the 10 year average, bolstered by a particularly strong year of activity in Cambridge (805,000 sq ft).
Bidwells launches its latest Our View on Industrial research, Spring 2020. Industrial take up across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc remained above trend levels for the seventh year in a row driven by an increase in the M1 South market in the second half of the year.
Bidwells has released its High Street Retail research paper, Summer 2020. Availability continues to tighten, having fallen by 26% from the recent peak in mid 2017. The average availability rate stands at 8.9%, with only 12% of supply in prime units.
Bidwells has released its Out-of-town Retail research paper, Spring 2020. Take up across the main out of town retail markets rebounded from a disappointing 2018, with 214,600 sq ft of lettings. Ipswich and Cambridge accounted for 78% of activity.
Planners in both the public and private sectors will find their work is massively disrupted over the next few months and the impact has been acknowledged in a letter from the Chief Planner to all English Local authorities.