Bristol offers room for growth

Saturday 12th October 2013

A four point plan that will boost economic growth in Bristol is to be unveiled by Jones Lang LaSalle at a major conference taking place this week.

Jones Lang LaSalle believes there are four key areas that will consolidate and build on the city’s position – transport, infrastructure, planning for a growing population and attitude.

Ned Cussen, director at the company’s Bristol office, will highlight these themes at Bristol’s Bright Future conference on Tuesday 15th October 15.

Bristol is set to be one of the most economically successful British cities outside London, according to a report by one of the world’s most influential think tanks, Capital Economics, and it has even more potential for growth and success than any other regional UK city.

“Bristol is frighteningly good,” said Cussen. “We have an impressive breadth of achievement and this brings with it incredible opportunities.”

He continued: “But there are some areas which are holding back our progress.

“Accessibility and connectivity is a fundamental pre-requisite of a vibrant economy so number one on the agenda must be transport.

“The Metro Bus proposal in my view is simply playing catch-up to a position which we should probably have achieved 20 years ago. Transport is a constantly moving picture and we should be reaching out to what is next on the horizon.”

Cussen argues that infrastructure is also central to driving economic development. Bristol has lacked any major infrastructure development over the last 20 years, and there is little in the pipeline.

“New projects are needed to drive prosperity. Take for example the explosion of development which followed the expansion of the railway network – Bristol needs to embrace and reap the benefits from these types of projects. The South Bristol link and Northern Arc are just two which could have a major impact on the city’s economic success.”

Cussen will also argue that politicians need to address the growing population and the dilemmas this brings. Without this forward planning, the city won’t be able to make provision for future generations.

“There are some unpalatable decisions that lie ahead but the reality remains that the population is growing and we need a logical and planned strategy for housing and employment. In the medium to long term this is likely to involve building on some Green Belt areas but it is impossible to deliver what we need within the city boundaries.”

Additionally, Cussen believes that attitude is an important part of the mix and will call on the silent majority to stand up for what the city deserves.

“Maybe it’s complacency, or perhaps life and circumstances aren’t bad enough to start a revolution. Either way, the silent majority doesn’t react strongly enough so the city is left in a situation where small self interested groups are taking the lead, whether it be a new road, a stadium or whatever.

“We quite simply have the worst sports facility of any major city in the UK.

“Swansea and Cardiff and both reaping the benefits of the new stadia that they have delivered and it’s surely no coincidence that both clubs have risen to the premier league.

“Similarly, Leeds has just finished a new arena and built it in the teeth of one of the deepest recessions we’ve known. That’s because the people of Leeds demanded it. Bristol is now the only major city in Britain without one.

“Let’s get some attitude and turn the silent majority into a voice that ensures Bristol gets the place it deserves on the national and international stage and delivers the foundations for prosperity and success.”


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