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Our market

What's happening in our chosen market

Urbanisation

Opportunity

UK population of 66 million (Source: ONS 2017) expected to reach 74 million by 2039 – a 12% increase on today. Over 80% of this is currently urban, predicted to be close to 85% in 2039. This is putting further pressure on towns and cities, which need to provide the additional infrastructure, public places, services and amenities to meet demand. Crucially it is also driving the need for new and affordable housing, which the Government has committed to address by targeting building 300,000 new homes a year. On the supply side, brownfield sites in England could provide more than 970,000 homes, but 40% don’t yet have planning permission.

Our response

We look for places that we can improve, many of them underloved or overlooked. Typically, these sites are too complex for REITs and too mixed in use for housebuilders, but they suit us perfectly. We believe developments can only work when people are prioritised, so we take the time to delve into the history and character of these sites and reflect these in our scheme. We often partner with the private or public sector – including TfL, MoD, local authorities and central/local government – to generate optimal returns from existing assets and unlock their potential.

War for talent

Opportunity

Attracting and retaining talent and supporting innovation in the UK, by providing the infrastructure and quality mixed-use spaces where people are proud to live, work, play and study. Creating thriving new neighbourhoods that promote four of the major economic growth drivers – talent, transport, tolerance for diversity and tourism – bringing jobs, driving productivity and stimulating local economies.

Our response

We work closely with communities and partners from the outset to ensure we are creating places that will meet the daily needs of the different generations. Quality and sustainability are key. We understand the importance of accessibility, working with our partners to ensure public transport, road, cycle and walking access opens up areas. The amenities available must also meet modern flexible living/working habits to encourage closer communities in the long term and support growth.

Political and regulatory uncertainty

Opportunity

Brexit discussions, leadership challenges and changes in regulation create risks and opportunities as companies and consumers adapt to a constantly changing landscape. London’s ranking as the most powerful financial centre in the world (Z/Yen 2017 Global Financial Centres Index), with a strong and transparent regulatory framework, will ensure it remains an attractive destination, regardless of political uncertainty, with international businesses continuing to headquarter and invest here and in other major UK cities.

Our response

Our size and the flexibility of our approach mean we can anticipate change and respond to it quickly. We foster close relationships with government across parties, the public and private sector and regulators, many of whom know us well. We are thought leaders on the major issues, working collaboratively towards policies and a regulatory framework that will support our shared goal of helping local communities to prosper. The need for quality (and affordable) housing, office and leisure space will continue regardless of leadership or politics, particularly in our core London City Region, Manchester and Dublin where demand is growing.

Wellbeing and sustainability

Opportunity

Comfortable, quality environments that promote healthy living and working, whilst encouraging happiness, wellbeing, trust and social interaction are of growing importance for the population’s health and the economy as Government seeks to address the £5 billion+ annual cost to the NHS of obesity and support mental and physical wellbeing.

Our response

Our schemes encourage more healthy, active lifestyles and help cultivate a sense of community. Typically, they offer green space to encourage cycling and walking and a range of leisure amenities – such as gyms, yoga studios, bike facilities and entertainment. Our buildings’ design, automation and energy management systems are created to optimise comfort, environmental quality and sustainability and, in turn, productivity.

Future proofing

Opportunity

Businesses have to stay relevant to growth trends and modern, constantly changing, living, working and shopping habits. Consumers will continue to visit those places providing either a rich customer experience with a mix of shopping, leisure, culture and community, or convenience as instant purchases will also have their place. Talent will be attracted to those businesses that provide the best environments, work-life balance, transport and amenities to make life as enjoyable and manageable as possible.

Our response

Our 25-year track record and >90% success in obtaining planning give us an edge and provide unique access to public and private sector opportunities. Our focus on mixed-use regeneration in three high-growth markets – London City Region, Manchester and Dublin – where we have both the intimate understanding of local demographics and their evolving needs, as well as the flexible approach and creative vision to see and realise potential, mean we can support local authorities in meeting the growing demand for high quality mixed-use spaces.

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