Momentum needed on City Deal

'Talk of a City Deal is already attracting business to our region - we must ensure these projects actually get delivered'

19 January 2016

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Cooke & Arkwright is looking forward to another decade of growth after passing a landmark 115 years in the commercial property sector in 2015, a year in which Cardiff increasingly became the target of attention from global business and investors. As we gear up for the next twelve months, the Chancellor’s urgent message during his visit to Cardiff on 7 January, in which he challenged leaders to just ‘get on with it’ so that a City Deal can be signed by March, has been welcomed. It is seen as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to transform the economy of South Wales and help the region to fulfil its full potential, and it is crucial that the momentum is not lost.

Chairman Michael Lawley says, “There is no doubt that talk of a City Deal is already attracting business to our region. We speak to national and international property developers and investors on a daily basis, and the consensus is that the proposed improvements to infrastructure, as well as the soon to be approved LDP, are key elements in attracting them to invest in the city and city region.

“The interest is certainly there, but we now need to make sure we don’t lose momentum. We must ensure these projects actually get delivered. All parties involved need to take heed of the Chancellor’s message: ‘let’s get on with it’.“

Mr Lawley says that the commercial property market in South Wales has changed considerably since the firm was first founded in 1900, and especially in recent years. “In the last five years alone we have seen the core business district of Cardiff move from the north side of the city centre to the south side where the new Central Square and Capital Quarter developments are.

“Cardiff has undoubtedly seen the greatest change of all the cities in Wales and we are seeing more and more investors from London and abroad choosing the city as a preferred option for investment. Much of our time is spent advising our London based clients on development and investment opportunities.

“In the next ten years I think we will see our other cities of Swansea and Newport continue to attract business and investment, with the Friars Walk development in Newport and the central area redevelopment proposals in Swansea playing a significant role in this.

“It is therefore critical in 2016 that leaders grasp the nettle and ensure that the City Deal and other significant projects for the region become a reality.”

Mansford has expanded its investment portfolio over the last few years. Over this time Andrew West has provided us with a full rating valuation service which has involved giving a view on liabilities prior to acquisitions, as well as conducting negotiations with Valuation Officers on our UK estate. The portfolio includes a wide range of properties from shops, offices and pubs to major leisure schemes. He has been particularly successful in mitigating our liabilities to empty property rate, which has been an issue on acquisition prior to implementing our development and letting strategy. I have no hesitation in recommending Andrew's expertise in rating valuation for all property types. The profile of property within his portfolio and the successes achieved are testament to his position as an extremely accomplished rating practitioner.

Leopold Hall, Partner, Mansford LLP