A leading property conference has heard how a “new way of working” has ensured a major Midlands road scheme will help bring jobs to the region.
Work is due to start on the A45 Tollbar junction near Coventry – which has been a notorious bottleneck in recent years – in April.
But the Highways Agency has altered its scheme after consultation with the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, a move which will help the creation of the Gateway scheme.
Martin Yardley, managing director of the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, said that level of co-operation would not have been possible before the LEPs were put in place.
Yardley, speaking at the Wright Hassall Commercial Property Conference, told the 150-strong audience that the Gateway could lead to the creation of 14,000 jobs through new distribution, warehouse and hi-tech office development.
He said: “The Highways Agency scheme was designed purely to solve the traffic problem which has great merit as there is no question that the delays are an impediment to investment.
“But with proposals for the Gateway being drawn up, the LEP contacted the minister and we were able to discuss the plans with the Highways Agency.
“It listened, and as a result its scheme will be undertaken with the development very much a factor.
“In short the agency has ensured the new road layout will be future-proofed to allow the development to reach its potential.
“That level of accessibility and influence just would not have been possible before the days of the LEP. The whole purpose of the LEP is to break down the barriers to growth – and that is just what has happened here.
“The tide has gone out on public sector funding, so the only way to progress is to work in a different way to the expected norm. That means using assets, working closer with partners and looking for other ways of making development happen.”
Yardley, a keynote speaker at the event at the Woodland Grange Conference Centre in Leamington, outlined the details of the Gateway scheme along with the developers of the project.
Eleanor Deady, Real Estate Partner at Wright Hassall, said: “The challenges presented by the economic and political landscape are huge, and are shaping the way the commercial property world is working. The contributions from our keynote speakers proved that beyond doubt.
“Certainly it is refreshing that there appears to be so much more collaboration. It might have been born of necessity, but it can only be a good thing.
“I think the way the Gateway scheme is progressing impressed all those at the conference and the clear ambition to make it happen was noted from those who had travelled from other areas of the UK.”
Other speakers at the Wright Hassall Commercial Property Conference covered sustainable development, legal pitfalls in development, how to simplify the legal process and how to sustain value in green schemes.
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