Almost 300 delegates squeezed into London’s Goodenough College yesterday for Bidwells’ first ever Growth Corridor conference - held in partnership with EG and Farmer’s Weekly.

Bidwells teamed up with the two leading land and property industry titles to bring the investment and development community together to asses and review the opportunities and challenges ahead for the Government-backed project.

 The event focused on identifying opportunities between Cambridge and Oxford, as well as looking at how the major infrastructure projects planned for the region – a re-opened Varsity Line between Cambridge and Oxford and an Expressway Road – can be best delivered.

 Treasury Minister Robert Jenrick MP opened the event by calling the Corridor “the biggest economic growth opportunity in Europe”.

Jenrick stayed on after his keynote address to hear from a range of panellists representing the planning, legal, investment, development and science & technology sectors, as each offered views on the actions Government could take to meet the ambitious economic growth targets set out in the last two Budget Statements.

 Bidwells Senior Partner, Patrick McMahon, said:

“Robert Jenrick is right; it is the biggest opportunity in Europe. But success is by no means a given.

 “We must ensure we provide the right infrastructure; to facilitate the right type of growth, in the right places.”    

Research Director Sue Foxley presented the findings of Bidwells’ recent YouGov survey looking at the requirements of Europe’s top R&D driven companies answering the central question of the event: what do occupiers really want from the corridor?

Planning Partner Rob Hopwood also joined a panel looking at how to best coordinate delivery of the projects set out by Government at both regional and local level. There were strong calls for a Corridor-wide National Policy Statement.

Jenrick also confirmed that a Ministerial Champion for the Corridor will be announced shortly, and he also said a Corridor Business Champion is currently being sought.

Other speakers included Sarah Greenwood, Head of Strategic Growth, Homes England; Pete Gladwell, Head of Public Sector Partnerships, Legal & General Property; Robin Butler, Managing Director, Urban & Civic; Naisha Polaine, Head of Projects – Large Capital, Department for International Trade; and Martin Tugwell, Programme Director, England’s Economic Heartland.

A ’Manifesto to Government’ - created following detailed discussions with panellists and speakers from the conference in a private roundtable after the event - will be published in EG January.

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Sue Foxley2

Rob Hopwood2

Photos credits: EG and Ed Telling Photography.
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