Wales’ got talent

South Wales region could play major role in long term delivery of government's New Property Model

10 April 2018
  • Cardiff Bay aerial Cooke & Arkwright

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The UK Government launched its new Government Property Agency (GPA) on 28th March 2018. As an Executive Agency of the Cabinet’s Office it will help deliver the government’s New Property Model which aims to transform the civil service by relocating more government functions, arms-length bodies and civil servants out of London to regions across the UK, acting as a catalyst for regional growth and strengthening the Union. Chaired by Liz Peace, formerly CEO of the British Property Federation, its focus will be on strategic management of the government’s property portfolio, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of its estate and generating benefits of between £1.4bn and £2.4bn over the next ten years.

The GPA has already been operating in the background for over a year. It has been leading the government hubs programme which has seen 12 new hubs announced to-date across the UK, including one in Cardiff. Each hub has represented the biggest pre-let for the year in that city, providing a boost to confidence and a significant source of investment.

Ben Bolton, Director of Business Space at Cooke & Arkwright said, “An important consideration for public sector staff is whether there will be career opportunities in the area they are moving to. The cluster of established and significant public sector bodies in the South Wales region offers individuals a wide range of opportunities to expand and progress their careers within the public sector umbrella. South Wales is already host to major public occupiers including HMRC in Cardiff, the Office for National Statistics in Newport and DVLA in Swansea, all within commuting distance.

“The region could play a major role in the long-term delivery of the New Property Model. Consider Cardiff.

“Its influence as a commercial capital is steadily climbing. It is now ranked 36th globally as a ‘city which successfully attracts and retains staff’. Only London is ahead of us, according to the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Talent Competitiveness Index. We are growing faster than any other UK city, creating more and more jobs, and have one of the UK’s most skilled workforces.

“Central Cardiff is a hive of activity, with the delivery of an unprecedented level of new offices transforming the entrance to the city centre and making it one of Wales’ largest regeneration projects. Alongside the 180,000 sq ft BBC HQ will be the new UK Government Property Hub at 270,000 sq ft. With completion expected in December 2019, it will house more than 4,000 civil servants from several UK Government departments, including the majority occupier HMRC and the Office for the Secretary of State for Wales.

“Central Square has excellent transport links. It is opposite Cardiff Central train station and work is now set to begin on the adjacent interchange building, which as well as delivering apartments, offices and retail, will provide a new bus station.

“South of the train station on the opposite side of the river, Rightacres will deliver Central Quay on the former Brains Brewery site. This will provide another 1m sq ft of office space as well as University Campus, residential, retail and leisure facilities, and a new public square.

“In north-west Cardiff, the £2bn garden city, Plasdŵr, is well under way. It will provide 7,000 homes in four distinct districts, each with a central square and primary school, shops, offices, health and leisure centres, pubs and restaurants.

“So we have the commercial property and the infrastructure investment. We have the new housing being delivered. We have the location, the stunning countryside and coastline on our doorstep. We are second to none in terms of quality of life.

“These are the attributes that are attracting, developing and retaining talent in our region. Now we just need to work together to ensure that the Government Property Agency knows just how good we are.”

Jane Shankland is very approachable and responsive as well as having sound all round experience of rating law. The Council has benefited greatly from Jane’s support, sound advice and skill and the Council will continue to use her services.

Louise Horner, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council