In 2019 Blackstock conceived, created and launched an incisive and visionary report to unlock the economic potential of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc powerhouse, home to home to some of the UK’s most innovative life sciences and tech businesses such as AstraZeneca, Apple and Microsoft. This piece of work included a multi-disciplinary campaign across media, digital and public affairs with stellar results.

Developed in partnership with clients Cambridge-based property consultancy Bidwells and global architects Perkins+Will, the Radical Regeneration Manifesto provided an in depth analysis of the barriers holding back a sector worth up to £100bn GVA, while offering a roadmap for planning policy to stimulate growth. 

Read the Radical Regeneration Manifesto.

For the report we brought together over twenty-five industry leaders managing over £50bn of UK assets with investors, occupiers and public sector leaders to share their insight and ideas, producing sixteen key recommendations for the government.

Our campaign initiated a conversation with the Ministry  for Housing, Communities and Local Government, resulting in a unique mandate from Government to help fast-track 22 large-scale development schemes worth £15.75bn via the UK Treasury. These projects have the potential to deliver 42,300 new homes – the equivalent of a city the size of Watford and 12.6m sq ft of employment space – the equivalent of seven Canary Wharf Towers.

To date, six of the manifesto’s proposals have been taken forward into various stages of policy development. 

The RRM campaign achieved twenty-six pieces of coverage, reaching over 46m readers and listeners. We gained tier-one press in The Times, The Telegraph and on Sky News, backed by coverage across key trade and regional publications such as Estates Gazette and the Oxford Mail. 

The campaign also won several awards, including The Drum’s Thought Leadership Campaign 2020, beating Mastercard, AT&T, IBM and the United States Postal Service. 

Key Stats:

  • A unique mandate from the government to help fast-track 22 large-scale development schemes worth £15.75bn via the UK Treasury. These projects have the potential to deliver 42,300 new homes – the equivalent of a city the size of Watford and 12.6m sq ft of employment space – the equivalent of seven Canary Wharf Towers 
  • Press coverage across Sky News, The Times and the front pages of key regional tiles. In total, the Radical Regeneration Manifesto achieved 26 pieces of coverage and reached over 46m readers and listeners.
  • RRM was received by all major MPs and shadow MPs interested in the Arc or planning and development policy. 
  • Five private round tables, five seminars and a combined 306 attendees
  • Five of the 16 recommendations made were embedded in policy: 
    • PDR+ for brownfield and transport hubs: PDR for selected brownfield sites and a presumption in favour of high density development for new homes and commercial space adjacent to central located and urban fringe rail stations
    • Prioritising off-site manufacturing: fast tracking housing built in factories can be led by radical intervention from Homes England
    • Update 300-year old planning in three years: radically overhaul archaic use class designation for sites, making planning and uses of land more flexible
    • Digital planning: fully digitise government platforms such as the Land Registry and Planning Portal to enable further innovation
    • Digital engagement: A digital-first planning engagement platform enabling anyone to engage with the process
  • Radical Regeneration Manifesto led to over 35 high level meetings and round tables with high level client targets such as: LaSalle IM, Legal & General, the MHLCG, Stanhope plc, Urban Splash, Barratt and the University of Oxford.
  • Over £1m of work was won for Bidwells including advisory services for the MHCLG, in addition to landlord/landowner studies in and around the Arc. Blackstock also received new instructions in the life sciences space, for which RRM was undoubtedly a factor. There are other opportunities on the table for Perkins&Will and Bidwells that have potential to more than double this £1m figure.

 

Patrick McMahon, senior partner at Bidwells, says:

“When the Radical Regeneration Manifesto was suggested I thought it was both exciting and mad at the same time. Clearly therefore something we needed to do. 

“The manifesto suggested ways to deliver the Arc in an exciting and sustainable way that appeals to the communities within it. The extent of the potential for the ARC has been established and we are proud that our award winning research has played a part in that. 

“It is the enormous potential that the ARC offers the UK on the world stage that won the interest of Government at the highest level – and showed what our industry can do when it pulls together.”

 

Alistair Lomax, CEO, Arc Universities Group, says:

“Whilst the rest of us were just working out what to say to one another, the Radical Regeneration Manifesto arrived fully fledged. It was beautifully designed and we all stood to attention.”

 

 

Key Coverage: 

 

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