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Projects

  • Brighton & Hove Economic Strategy

    We developed an economic strategy for Brighton & Hove City Council, shaped in partnership with local businesses and organisations

    Project overview

    Brighton & Hove City council sought to develop a new Economic Strategy to guide their activity between 2024-2027.

    It was important for Brighton & Hove City Council that the Economic Strategy was shaped in partnership with businesses and organisations across the city, who will help deliver any actions. They were also keen that in process of developing the strategy itself new relationships were established.

    PRD took a collaborative approach which sought input from stakeholders from the start of the process. This involved a series of themed workshops with council officers, civil society organisations and businesses. Our conversations were broader than what might be included in a traditional economic strategy, for example bringing in representatives from public health, culture and circular economy, recognising the links between these and the economy of the city.

    Alongside this, we developed a short evidence base shaped around how Brighton & Hove’s economy could be more fair, green and productive. This situated Brighton & Hove’s economy within wider national economic challenges and opportunities.

    Our outputs are still being developed, but include a short visual evidence base and a strategy report.

    Project details

    • Client
      Brighton & Hove City Council
    • Project Lead
      Rose Jump
    • Type
      Engagement, Inclusive Economy, Data & Evidence
  • Bromsgrove Town Centre Delivery Options

    We created viable development options for two key sites to bring a more diverse range of activities to Bromsgrove town centre

    Project overview

    The North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration team, a multi-authority body, commissioned PRD and project partners AR Urbanism to review options for two key high street sites on behalf of Bromsgrove District Council. The sites are at either end of the town centre, which Bromsgrove DC aims to revitalise with new workplaces, retail, and leisure.

    To complement the council’s own ambitions, PRD and ARU consulted various stakeholders throughout the town centre. With this feedback, the project team developed options for the sites and PRD assessed the deliverability and viability for each, resulting in scheme options that would be attractive to the developer market, fundable, and play a wider role in regenerating the town centre.

    The proposals included a mix of housing and ground floor community uses for one site and a mix of workspace and meanwhile use leisure on the other, which will enhance the existing town centre by bringing in new residents and modern, bespoke spaces for different uses.

    Project details

    • Client
      North Worcestershire Economic Development and Regeneration team
    • Project Lead
      Simon Evans
    • Type
      Delivery Strategy
  • Coast to Capital Covid-19 Recovery Support

    We developed a brochure to set out the ambitions and key projects of the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership as it looks towards Covid-19 recovery

    Project overview

    Coast to Capital is the Local Enterprise Partnership covering Brighton to Bognor Regis on the coast up to Epsom, Surrey. The region is expected to be disproportionately affected by Covid-19, with vulnerabilities due to high-risk groups for Covid-19 exposure living along the coast, reliance on Gatwick Airport for employment, a high proportion of self-employed people, business closures in Brighton & Hove, and more.

    With the right investment and support, the Coast to Capital area is well-placed to recover. PRD developed a brochure for the LEP illustrating the potential for the area to ‘build back stronger, smarter, and greener’, focusing on development and infrastructure projects that can tackle long-standing socioeconomic challenges as well as issues caused or exacerbated by Covid-19. The brochure is a tool for the LEP to set out its vision for the region with a view to attracting investment and government funding.

    For example, the brochure outlines the LEP’s aspirations to see a £2m upgrade to Brighton mainline for better train reliability and quicker journey times; development around Gatwick and Crawley build a more resilient worker base and innovative business practices; urban innovation districts in Brighton & Hove; and embedding zero carbon and clean energy across the region’s new development and existing operations.

    Project details

    • Client
      Coast to Capital
    • Project Lead
      Martin Woodhouse
    • Type
      Funding & Investment Plan
  • Folkestone Place Plan

    We developed an evidence-based, mission-driven Place Plan for Folkestone town centre

    Project overview

    Folkestone and Hythe District Council commissioned a multidisciplinary team, which included PRD, to develop a Place Plan for Folkestone town centre—a critical exercise to define the future role of the town centre following a year of Covid-19 related lockdowns and ongoing challenges facing the high street.

    The Place Plan addresses themes such as public realm, employment, skills and training, investment, and transport. PRD developed the socioeconomic evidence base for the Place Plan as well as recommendations to enable business growth, economic development and long-term community participation.

    Guided by the views of local people, the project team developed a ‘mission-driven’ approach with six missions to structure the actions of the Place Plan and galvanise external investors around shared goals. PRD helped develop these missions and identified specific outputs and outcomes against each one to enable the council to measure success and progress.

    The Place Plan provides the council with a robust evidence base upon which to bid for central government regeneration funding and the ‘mission-driven’ approach has allowed external partners to see both what the council is doing and where their own investments can make contributions to the aims of the Place Plan.

    Project details

    • Client
      Folkestone & Hythe District Council
    • Project Lead
      Rosa Sulley
    • Type
      Inclusive Economy, Funding & Investment Plan, Data & Evidence
  • Frome Gateway Employment Land & Skills Strategy

    We are advising on approaches to business support, workforce skills, and employment space in one of Bristol’s core growth areas

    Project overview

    Frome Gateway is an area of industrial land close to the centre of Bristol. It has a range of uses including community and cultural, industrial, manufacturing, warehousing, and retail activity. Bristol City Council re-designated the area from a Principal Industrial and Warehousing area to an Area of Growth and Opportunity. This reflects an ambition to have a denser and broader mix of uses, including new homes, workspace, retail and leisure. A Strategic Regeneration Framework is being developed to guide this change.

    To support the Strategic Regeneration Framework, Bristol City Council commissioned PRD to develop an Employment Land and Skills Strategy for the area. The strategy will provide guidance on the level and nature of future employment space, ways to support existing businesses, and employment and skills approaches which will maximise the benefits for local communities. As part of this, PRD will develop scenarios promoting different growth sectors and levels of business retention as well as test viability of these.

    The Strategy is underpinned by a thorough social and economic baseline which details the community, skills and employment, and local economic context of the area. Our approach to this included quantitative data collection and analysis, policy reviews and consultation with council stakeholders.

    Project details

    • Client
      Bristol City Council
    • Project Lead
      Barney Cringle
    • Type
      Data & Evidence
  • Gravesham regeneration vision

    We developed a regeneration vision with Gravesham Borough Council looking ahead to 2040

    Project overview

    We worked with Gravesham Borough Council to help direct the council’s regeneration vision up to 2040. This involved the production of an up to date social, economic and environmental evidence base to demonstrate intra-borough inequalities, particularly around health and wellbeing.

    Using evidence of challenges facing local communities, we worked with officers at the council across housing, open spaces, regeneration and economic development to develop the outcomes they wish to achieve as council-wide ambitions. This Theory of Change process allowed the council to think more holistically about the roadmap to delivering change for the borough’s residents and businesses, and the outcomes of the exercise will inform the council’s future regeneration strategy and case-making over the coming decades.

    Project details

    • Client
      Gravesham Borough Council
    • Project Lead
      Victoria Smyth
    • Type
      Inclusive Economy, Data & Evidence
  • Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP Workspace Study

    We are leading a region-wide, cross-authority study on workspace supply and demand in the west midlands

    Project overview

    Comprising nine local authorities across the west midlands, the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) area is at the heart of the country and is one of its economic heavyweights. The region is experiencing strong growth and investment, from Levelling Up funds to HS2 to international companies taking advantage of great connectivity to the rest of the country.

    GBSLEP commissioned PRD and We Made That to review workspace supply and demand throughout the LEP area, with a view to understanding gaps in the market. In particular, the study is attempting to uncover areas throughout the region where workspace demand is outpacing supply and which specific workspace typologies (e.g. manufacturing space, lab space, kitchens, offices) are most in need. Our team’s approach includes desk research on workspace throughout the region, market and sector analysis, and interviews with local authorities, workspace operators, and other stakeholders or property experts.

    The work will result in two major outputs. First, a map of workspace across the region showing workspace typologies and other information will give potential tenants, operators, local authorities, and developers a new resource to aid in business and policy decisions. It will also help determine spatial gaps in workspace provision.

    Second, a report with findings about what types of workspace are needed and where, analysis on the value and benefits of workspace for towns and cities, and bespoke recommendations will give the LEP and local authorities a starting point for making the case for and directing investment towards workspace.

    Project details

    • Client
      Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP
    • Project Lead
      Amanda Robinson
    • Type
      Data & Evidence
  • Huntingdonshire Futures Place Strategy

    We had more than 800 conversations with people across Huntingdonshire to inform a vision for the district’s future

    Project overview

    Huntingdonshire Futures is a collaborative strategy which sets out a shared vision for the future of Huntingdonshire in 2050 and a clear way forward to achieve it. ​Huntingdonshire District Council commissioned PRD to deliver a wide reaching and deliberative programme of community engagement to ensure that local people’s ideas and perspectives informed the strategy.  ​

    We had more than 800 conversations about the future with local people from across the District ranging from eight to 94 years old. We used a variety of approaches, from pop-up exhibitions in high footfall areas to focus groups and classroom sessions in schools. ​

    To ensure diversity of voices we collaborated with community organisations, such as food banks, older people’s groups, youth organisations, schools, and colleges. This approach meant local people were able to shape the priorities and actions for the future.

    Huntingdonshire Futures can be read here (PDF).

     

    Project details

    • Client
      Huntingdonshire District Council
    • Project Lead
      Sarah Wheale-Smith
    • Type
      Engagement
  • Invest Northern Ireland

    We established joint venture models for delivering affordable workspace on behalf of Invest Northern Ireland

    Project overview

    Together with Hatch, PRD supported Invest Northern Ireland to explore and develop a range of structured joint venture models to co-ordinate investment into Local Enterprise Agencies (LEAs) across Northern Ireland with the aim of delivering affordable workspace.

    Working closely with Invest Northern Ireland and in consultation with a broad selection of LEAs, PRD analysed the barriers to and opportunities for delivery, then tested several new models and approaches for delivery through client consultation.

    PRD proposed innovative delivery models with new, active stakeholder roles for local and national government alongside the LEAs. The models made best use of the resources, property assets, skills and powers of each party to deliver locally-tailored workspace.

    Project details

    • Client
      Invest Northern Ireland
    • Project Lead
      Daniel Partridge
    • Type
      Funding & Investment Plan, Partnership Structure
  • Liverpool City Region Small Sites Programme

    We are building a portfolio of suitable sites across the Liverpool City Region for infill and small-scale housing development

    Project overview

    Liverpool City Region, comprising six Liverpool-area local authorities, commissioned PRD to establish a portfolio of sites that would benefit from Homes England funding for infill and small-scale residential development.

    The Liverpool region has some of the most challenging viability constraints in the country, making development at this scale difficult. PRD identified additional obstacles, such as remediation and demolition costs, fragmented ownership, conflicting landowner ambitions, and costs of utilities/services. We consulted individual local authorities, small developers, landowners, and registered providers to understand their own barriers to delivery, the most effective ways for funding to unlock development, and ideal site types.

    From this, we developed scoring criteria to help whittle down a longlist of 650 sites into a shortlist of 50 best sites that can be delivered in the shortest amount of time and with minimal intervention. We also built a ‘roadmap’ of next steps for LCR and Homes England to begin rolling out a programme of procurement and funding for the first wave of sites.

    Project details

    • Client
      Liverpool City Region
    • Project Lead
      Simon Evans
    • Type
      Delivery Strategy
  • Margate Town Investment Plan & Creative Land Trust

    We helped Thanet District Council secure up to £22.2m of central government Towns Fund for Margate and set up a Creative Land Trust

    Project overview

    In 2020, PRD and project partners We Made That worked with Thanet District Council and the Margate Town Deal Board to develop a Town Investment Plan underpinned by extensive community engagement and a widespread desire to transform Margate into a town with a strong year-round economy.

    The TIP charts a 10-year course of improvements for Margate, focusing on scaling Margate’s creative economy and skills through a new Creative Land Trust; tackling deep health inequalities by providing more wellbeing amenities linked to Margate’s coast; improving public realm and connectivity; and making Margate’s nationally-renowned heritage assets more sustainable and inclusive. It is underpinned by PRD’s extensive socioeconomic baseline to ensure interventions are targeted in areas that need them most.

    PRD subsequently worked with partners to lay the groundwork for the Margate Creative Land Trust (MCLT), which now has a fully operational Board of Trustees. MCLT’s purpose is to safeguard sites for creative industries, mainly through purchasing property and taking headleases with a view to subletting at discounted rates. To assist MCLT with this process, we designed a property acquisition decision framework for MCLT to assess the suitability of potential properties for their portfolio. The framework sets out how MCLT can collect and analyse information on available sites, taking into account factors such as site size, price, condition and refurbishment needs, potential number of jobs, businesses, or creative activities it can support, and the extent to which the property’s end use can align with MCLT’s vision and aims.

    Project details

    • Client
      Thanet District Council
    • Project Lead
      Chris Paddock
    • Type
      Inclusive Economy, Funding & Investment Plan, Data & Evidence
  • Mayday Saxonvale Economic Manifesto

    We provided an economic vision and strategy to underpin one of first community-led masterplans in the country.

    Project overview

    Frome is a thriving market town in northeast Somerset. Steeped in history, the town is home to a wealth of cultural, natural, and economic assets. Frome has a strong economic identity and is well known for its independent retail, manufacturing heritage, and creative industries.

    Saxonvale is the last major development site in Frome town centre. Mendip District council purchased the site in 2018 with the aim of turning an underused part of the town into a new mixed-use community. However, the council’s original proposal sought to maximise housing, with less focus on civic and economic infrastructure. Believing that a better alternative is possible, Mayday Saxonvale has prepared an alternative masterplan for the site. Mayday Saxonvale is a not-for-profit social enterprise incorporated as a company limited by guarantee with the sole objective of developing the Saxonvale site for the social, community, and economic benefit of Frome. Mayday’s alternative approach takes a community-led, balanced approach to development at Saxonvale, marrying the homes that Frome needs with the community and commercial space integral to prosperous and sustainable place.

    To support Mayday’s alternative planning application, PRD produced an Economic Manifesto for the Saxonvale site. Setting out a clear case for change, the Manifesto proposed interventions to embed a new approach to the economy, enabling Frome to become greener, fairer, and more resilient by design. The Manifesto is underpinned by national and international best practice case studies, embedding a more inclusive economy approach from the outset.

    The Manifesto has supported Mayday’s alternative planning application for the site and has been endorsed by a range of local partners including Frome Town Council.

    Project details

    • Client
      Mayday Saxonvale
    • Project Lead
      Will Temple
    • Type
      Inclusive Economy
  • Oxford Station Masterplan

    We are ensuring that the new Oxford Station masterplan focuses on placemaking impact, creating public value and wider benefit capture

    Project overview

    Working alongside and Atkins, Oxford City Council, Oxford County Council, Network Rail, and the Oxfordshire LEP, PRD is providing strategic property development, value capture, viability and delivery advice to inform and guide the updated masterplan for this globally important city gateway.

    Drawing on our experience of harnessing infrastructure investment to drive wider benefits, our economic work in Oxford and our strong background in formulating delivery options and viability assessments, we are establishing a business case for adjacent station redevelopment and bringing delivery certainty to the project.

    Project details

    • Client
      Oxford City Council, Oxford County Council, Network Rail and the Oxfordshire LEP
    • Project Lead
      Martin Woodhouse
    • Type
      Delivery Strategy, Viability & Options Appraisal
  • Runcorn Station Quarter Masterplan

    We appraised development and delivery options for the emerging Runcorn Station Quarter masterplan

    Project overview

    Development in Runcorn faces several delivery challenges and constraints, including multiple land ownership, safeguarded land and challenging local property market economics.

    PRD provided market insight for Runcorn’s Station Quarter as part of a multidisciplinary team. Our input included an in-depth contextual market baseline of local and regional property market economics, developed through data analysis and consultations with agents, key public-sector stakeholders, landowners and key leaseholders. PRD also appraised the development options for the emerging masterplan, which includes consideration of how the council can use its assets to deliver the masterplan and stimulate wider investment in the area.

    The masterplan will catalyse wider regeneration in Runcorn, including the town centre, and harness the regeneration potential of HS2.

    Project details

    • Client
      Halton Borough Council
    • Project Lead
      Martin Woodhouse
    • Type
      Asset Strategy, Viability & Options Appraisal
  • Thames Estuary Growth Board Success Framework

    We created a bespoke framework to define and measure successful growth throughout the Thames Estuary Production Corridor

    Project overview

    The Thames Estuary Growth Board was established by central government to provide a coherent approach to development and growth throughout the Thames Estuary, one of the most important regions in the world for creative and cultural production and innovation. The Growth Board comprises representatives from estuary local authorities and businesses.

    Building on PRD team members’ track record of work in the Thames Estuary, we have been working with the board via the dedicated Thames Estuary envoy to help them define what successful change and growth looks like throughout the region. We have defined what ‘levelling up’ means for the Thames Estuary and created a bespoke measurement framework based on region-specific data analysis and engagement with the board.

    Project details

    • Client
      Thames Estuary Growth Board
    • Project Lead
      Barney Cringle
    • Type
      Monitoring & Evaluation
  • Worcester Shrub Hill

    We are enabling Worcestershire County Council to take the lead in the long-term regeneration of the area around a Grade-II listed station near Worcester city centre

    Project overview

    Worcester Shrub Hill Station is a Grade-II listed building nearing dereliction through lack of investment. The station surroundings are similarly disinvested and poorly signposted to the nearby city centre. Early business cases and cost-benefit ratios for redeveloping the station did not support investment.

    PRD is working on a long-term project with Worcestershire County Council to develop a feasible strategy for station investment and development. Following extensive viability testing, socioeconomic profiling, visioning workshops, and reviewing funding and land value capture models, we advised WCC that unlocking wider regeneration around the station and land value capture would make investment viable.

    This has enabled WCC to buy 4.5 hectares of land around the station with a view to catalysing 1000 homes, 7000 jobs, and 102,000 m² of new commercial space for Shrub Hill over the next 30 years, with flexibility built in so development can respond to market changes. WCC themselves will act as an anchor tenant, moving from an out-of-town office park back to the heart of the city and repurposing an underused asset.

    We are now supporting WCC and Worcester City Council to form a development plan for the 4.5 ha plus surrounding sites under other ownership. This involves identifying reusable assets, deliverable parcels throughout the site, phasing options, and potential partners.

    Project details

    • Client
      Worcestershire County Council
    • Project Lead
      Martin Woodhouse
    • Type
      Delivery Strategy
  • Worthing Joint Venture

    We developed an innovative Public-Public Partnership between London & Continental Railways and Worthing Borough Council

    Project overview

    PRD supported London and Continental Railways and Worthing Borough Council in designing, structuring and launching an innovative public-public partnership focused on development and regeneration.

    The partnership will initially focus on promoting and realising development on several publicly owned but previously stalled town centre sites. Development of the sites will help realise the council’s vision for the town centre.

    We subsequently provided further development management and commercial support to mobilise the partnership.

    Project details

    • Client
      London & Continental Railways
    • Project Lead
      Martin Woodhouse
    • Type
      Delivery Strategy, Partnership Structure