The Midlands: a tale of two biscuits
I’ve been to a lot of ‘Midlands Development Conferences’, all of them in Birmingham. Actually, one of them was in Solihull - but we all know that is basically Birmingham *ducks*.
At yet another ‘Midlands Development Conference’ the other week a few disgruntled audience members and one particularly disgruntled panellist drew attention to the fact that Birmingham is in fact NOT the Midlands.
According to this particularly outspoken panellist (imagine Thatcher dialled up to 11) the Midlands is a region that also includes cities like Derby, Nottingham, Leicester and coastal towns such as Skegness. Skegness which of course was missing from the ‘Midlands’ map within the conference brochure we all received on arrival. Yes, that’s right – she made us all open our brochures and look.
The East Midlands, in her opinion, is often forgotten about. It’s the rich tea finger at the bottom of the biscuit tin whilst the West Midlands sits on top like a chocolate covered hobnob.
To be fair to her it’s a sentiment I’m familiar with. The East Midlands doesn’t have a Metro Mayor a la Andy Street and as I mentioned before, there aren’t many conferences in Derby (or Skegness!) I even recently read a report about HS2 that didn’t mention Nottingham, Toton or the East Midlands even once…
However, I have to ultimately disagree. I think the East Midlands is brimming with opportunities.
The hub station at Toton will be one of the best served stations on the high-speed network. The East Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy predicts it will add nearly £4 billion to its economy and around 74,000 jobs.
As well the station, there are plans to accelerate development opportunities in and around East Midlands Airport, the SEGRO Logistics Park at nearby Castle Donington, Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station just across the Notts border and Chetwynd Barracks in Nottingham.
With improved connectivity and greater job prospects in the region, pressure will grow to provide increased levels of housing, presenting a significant opportunity for developers. With its vast supply of greenfield land we expect to see new garden settlements cropping up left, right and centre.
In fact, we are already witnessing such an interest in the region that earlier this year we decided to open an office in Stamford, Lincolnshire to resource the workload.
Far from being the rich tea finger at the bottom of the biscuit tin, I think the East Midlands is a humble digestive. And who doesn’t love a digestive?
Emma Harris - Business Development Director