South Coast Developer Conference 2020

BE Networking’s 2020 South Coast Developer Conference was held in (a wet) Brighton.

This year, the conference was quite Solent-focused. Considering that it was hosted in Brighton, and that the first speaker was the Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, very little was said about the planned projects for the city other than the First Base project (redeveloping the former Amex House site on Edward Street), the 2-hour journey from Southampton and how bad the east-to-west infrastructure is to Brighton!

There were several themes to the talks:

  • Economic growth
  • Placemaking
  • Developing the South Coast as a destination
  • Infrastructure

As with all good projects, it’s not a case of ‘build it and they will come’. All of the above factors have to be in place to ensure a successful development. If you want growth, you have to have the infrastructure. If you want a destination, you need placemaking…

Each of these elements were expanded on and questioned throughout the day, covering the ‘why’ of some of the new developments, how are they to be sustainable and what is sustainable? As we well know, the amount of thought, planning and processes needed to undertake such projects is significant.

Throughout the day the audience was asked to interact with polls and Q&A relevant to each talk. I was particularly interested in the following questions asked:

What is the most important thing that you want to see happen in 2020?

It was a loaded question given the answers on offer, but still good to see that the construction industry has this at the forefront of its mind.

It was a shame that no one could say ‘how’ it was to be addressed.

Along with most of the panel members, we think it needs to be Government led and enshrined into the Building Regulations to make it happen.

All things considered what do you think is a realistic and achievable target for the South Coast to get to zero carbon?

39% of the audience thought 2040 was achievable.

This is probably realistic, but not where we’d like to see the goal – we’d like the issue addressed on a war footing, bringing it down to 2030 at least. But to achieve this, some of the developments spoken about would need the renewable infrastructure designed in now, so it could be in place for future projects (some of the South Coast developments discussed today have been on the drawing board for years and won’t come to fruition in the next 5+ years).

So we understand 2040 but feel we all need to do our bit to push the target as much as possible, to create a better world for us all.

Final question of the day: how hot are you feeling about 2020?

At Cityzen we are at the front of the design process, and over the past few years our workload has been shifting around whilst developers and the Government work out what’s going to happen with the UK economy and the direction the country is going to go in. To that end, last year saw a lot of enquiries which were put on hold.

So are we hot? I’d say not yet. We have a great team of designers and technical staff and are looking to expand our workload and our project portfolio further, focusing on development siteshotelsassisting contractors with their D&B delivery, and acting as Executive Architects for other practices.

Our pipeline has projects which run into 2021 but we are always looking for more, so if you need a construction and delivery focused design practice you know who to call!

More information about BE networking can be found here. It’s always an interesting mix of construction professionals, developers and local government.

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