Property Experts Weigh in at Summit

Yesterday's annual Derby Property Summit saw 350 delegates come together at the city’s Pride Park Stadium to hear from leading figures in the UK property sector talk on the theme of ‘Shaping the Post-Brexit City’.

With keynote speakers Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, and Yolande Barnes, Director of World Research at Savills, this year’s Summit reflected on how cities are evolving and how global trends will impact on cities like Derby.

Speaking on the topic of “The Fifth Age of Cities”, Yolande Barnes noted that by 2025, 75% of the world’s workforce will be millenials and “there will be increased demand from people who want to be in cities that work for them, and this brings opportunities for cities like Derby”.  The digital age enables high-value workers to be more flexible and as such they favour street environments where they can live, work and relax - such environments are creating growth economies globally. She recommended that cities think carefully about their streetscapes, to make them attractive to all, and to put up buildings to accommodate flexible working and lifestyles.

Investment trends are also changing.  Yolande Barnes told delegates that “investor investment is moving to alternative sectors which offer long-term, higher value income streams”.  Investment in student residential and logistics are seeing growth and, as global investors find it difficult to find anything in gateway cities outside London, they are looking increasingly at cities like Derby.

Melanie Leech followed this with a discussion on the challenges to come for the property industry with her talk on “Thinking Beyond Boundaries – Tomorrow’s Property Challenge,” saying that Derby had a global outlook, productive local economy, innovative environment and connected workforce and should work these assets in order to attract investment with a clear, compelling offer.

She saw a partnership approach, such as that already advocated in Derby through initiatives like its public-private Derby Renaissance Board, as key in place-making and in attracting investment, advocating a "long-term vision" for the city - a point reflected by Derby City Council's new city centre Masterplan. She said:

"Long-term investors consider place and care about their customers having good experiences where they can come together.  It is important to knit people together in communities, not just put up buildings".

The headline speakers were subsequently joined on a panel to discuss the topic “Regeneration in the Regions”, chaired by the Summit’s host Declan Curry.  Panellists included Martin Rawson, deputy leader, Derby City Council;  Julia Bevan, acquisitions manager, Grainger Plc; Nigel Lax, director, iSec Group and Russell Davies, partner at Smith Partnership law firm fielded questions from the floor.

Russell Davies endorsed Melanie Leech's earlier points saying "Derby does partnerships very well and has a great opportunity to attract people to live and invest here.  Delivery of key sites in the city centre Masterplan will help create a fantastic city centre."

With delegates attending from across the country, the Derby Property Summit is the biggest property conference in the Midlands. Delegates come to hear about a variety of topics, focussing on the macro factors affecting the industry globally and nationally, whilst also receiving critical information about developments and opportunities in Derby.