“Nerve is key in 2021 for Newcastle property. The office isn’t dead. The city lives strong. The pandemic has shown us new ways and proved we can rapidly adapt. So, take confidence in all the predictions of rapid rebound from the former strong economy – and invest in the bright future!”
Charlie Hoult, Managing Director of HyHubs
“In 2021 we need to innovate in city and town centres to create focus and a new economic magnet. The sector needs to lead on climate change best practice and advocate for being recognised as the most sustainable region in England. We all need to get better at promoting collaboration and skills growth, creating and realising opportunities to help deliver the most active region in the UK.”
Tim Bailey, Partner at xsite architecture
“We need to channel Covid recovery, infrastructure and levelling up funding from Central Government into fast turnaround, quick win projects. This will create property and construction jobs and help build momentum in the market.
“There is also a huge opportunity in greening the built environment. Newcastle has set a courageous target with the net zero 2030 ambition. This is a huge task, but provides focus on the opportunity to re-imagine some of our older property stock. Early adopters could benefit with improved product, for potential new occupiers with higher quality and sustainability expectations.”
Fergus Trim, Director of Broadoak Asset Management
“While we have been fortunate to remain busy throughout, 2020 has been a difficult year on many levels, with Covid-19 having a direct and significant impact on the planning and development sector, and I am sure I speak for many when I say I will be glad to see the back of it!
“More positively, with the rollout of the vaccine about to commence, 2021 is now looking brighter and there is cause for some optimism.
“From my perspective, the top priority should be the revitalisation of the town and city centres across the region. Many centres were already struggling at the start of the year, and with numerous retail failures this year, Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns have acted as a catalyst, speeding up a process of change that was already in train. With town centres so important in terms of local economies – as well as civic pride – it will be essential for the public and private sectors to work together pro-actively to deliver change and re-enliven our high streets.
“Investment in infrastructure – physical and digital – also remains key for the North East as we continue to play catch up with other parts of the country – and needs to build upon the Government’s green agenda, as we look towards a carbon-free future.
“Finally, I would add that maintaining and increasing levels of inward investment into the region is more of a priority than ever as we enter the brave new world of life outside the EU. We have a good track record on inward investment and it will be essential to build upon that during 2021.”
Jonathan Wallace, Senior Director and Head of Newcastle Office at Lichfields
“We hope that 2021 will see us turn the corner within the battle against COVID-19. With this in mind, we must collectively turn our focus towards breathing life back into our town and city centres in a post-COVID or manageable COVID era.
“We believe that all advisors, employers, occupiers, investors, developers and authorities have a critical role to play in restoring confidence to enable the North East communities to return to our town and city centres to work, spend and socialise. We are by no means there yet and, of course, all restrictions in place to dampen the spread of this awful disease must be fully adhered to whilst they remain.
“We must, however, look forward to a time in 2021 when these regulations are relaxed. There is a need to plan now for that time and work together to encourage people away from the silos of remote working and isolated living. This is fundamental to enable collaboration, development and the building of relationships. This return should be managed in a way which builds on lessons learned from the forced changes we have made in 2020 in terms of environmental benefits and flexibility in working.
“Our great towns and cities will need our support in 2021 as the heavy clouds begin to lift. We must all do our bit to meet this need in whatever way we can.”
Nick Gholkar and Lesley Fairclough, Partners at Ward Hadaway