In the recent television series ‘Mind the Gap’, Evan Davis, best known for presenting BBC’s Dragons’ Den, compared the property boom and bubble in London with the rest of the country, which brought about some contradictions.
It’s been well-documented that, despite the recent travails of the Gherkin, London’s property market fared a whole lot better than its provincial counterpart. Yet, as Davis’ series showed, London didn’t arrive at its position of power through constructing anything close to a masterplan. In our capital, success has bred success – and this is an extremely important lesson to remember for the commercial property market closer to home.
There’s a danger that the East Midlands is becoming too parochial in its approach to success – something you could never throw at London. Why can’t the three cities in our region work together to promote their commercial property offer in the way that London has banded together to market itself as a centre of world commerce?
The East Midlands has struggled over recent years to put a consistent story out across its three cities. Sure, the commercial property market in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham was hit just as hard as anywhere during the 2008-2013 downturn, however, with the market now most definitely on the move again, surely now is the time to promote our region together, rather than apart?
Each of the three cities has something unique to offer inward investors: Derby’s manufacturing base is perhaps the ultimate cluster of its kind in the UK, Leicester benefits from excellent connections to London and a high standard of living, whilst Nottingham’s reputation for a centre for professional services excellence is now being augmented by an emerging Creative Quarter.
Masterplans have their place, but they will always almost fail without the foundations of success already in place. London has shown that inward investors are drawn to success. Now is the time for the East Midlands commercial property sector to take these lessons on board and respond.