Discussing Economic Recovery with Marketing Derby

PDP_Economic Recovery

On Tuesday 13th October, Planning & Design Practice Ltd Director Jon Millhouse took part in the latest Marketing Derby Talking Business live event, joining a panel of local business leaders, and sharing his thoughts on how Derby’s rich built heritage can help with the city’s economic recovery following the impacts of the Covid pandemic.

Jon joined fellow Bondholders, Stella Birks from tourism agency Visit Derby, creative business coach and mentor Ursula Cameron, Paul Norbury from PwC, Bromley Sibson from leading training provider Mitre Group and Matt Simpson from financial services organisation OVISO Financial.

As predicted, the Covid health pandemic has morphed into an economic emergency. Quarter 2 saw the biggest GDP drop in history and whilst Q3 has clawed some of this back there is focus on economic recovery in Q4 and 2021.

Introduced by John Forkin, Managing Director of Marketing Derby, the aim of the debate was to discuss the signs of recovery, and to ascertain what steps can be taken to ensure businesses are best positioned for growth. With the panel having a broad range of experiences from different sectors, different perspectives were outlined – is the glass half full or half empty?

Beginning the discussion, Paul Norbury talked about the challenges faced in bringing a large number of people back to the offices at PWC and how they are coping with new restrictions and boosting team morale. Matt Simpson from OVISO Financial gave an overview of the housing market since March and his thoughts for the market in 2021, particularly following Stamp Duty being reintroduced. Stella Birks from Visit Derby discussed the effect of Covid on tourism in Derby and Derbyshire, lessons we can learn from other European cities and the role that businesses can play in helping restore visitor numbers and provide innovative and engaging visitor experiences. With insight into a number of different sectors, business coach Ursula Cameron gave an overview into how each are dealing with recovery differently. Brom Sibson from training provider the Mitre Group talked about the recovery of our workforce using available apprenticeship schemes, and how larger companies can help small businesses by “donating” their levy.

Jon, as both a Chartered Town Planner and a Full Member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, with a specialist interest in Historic Building Conservation, reflected on Derby’s past and the role that its history can play in a post Covid recovery.

Jon comments:

“Derby is blessed with many historic buildings and spaces which have the potential to be restored, better revealed and better used, creating the kind of environment in which people want to invest, which will in turn help with the city’s economic recovery post Covid.

But at the same time Derby’s heritage is at risk. The principal uses which have underpinned the city centre for decades, retail stores and offices, are looking very vulnerable at the present time in the face of increased online shopping and remote working.

But from a crisis comes an opportunity. The old economic model – chain store retailers paying high rents to absentee landlords, high business rates, upper floors left dormant and buildings poorly maintained – is no longer working. Lower rents and rates will in time allow local independent businesses to enter the city centre and landlords will be incentivised to find new uses for upper floors, in order to maintain a good return on their assets.

If we value and prioritise economic activity in our historic buildings and spaces, our city centre can eventually bounce back better than before.”

Marketing Derby promotes Derby and Derbyshire in order to attract and support investment. In the last three years it has attracted a capital investment of £359 million, supporting the city and the county.

Planning & Design Practice Ltd offer a comprehensive range of services, specialising in planning, architecture, heritage, urban design, and rural development. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss how we can help you please get in touch.

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