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Read about all the latest developments from the world of Volterra below. If you want to stay in touch with us sign up for our newsletter.

Volterra provide expert witness at Kent planning inquiry

Volterra provide expert witness at Kent planning inquiry

Volterra partner Ellie Evans was recently an expert witness at a planning inquiry into the Gallagher Group’s proposals to create an industrial and warehouse development, Waterside Park, at Junction 8 of the M20 in Maidstone, Kent. Ellie’s evidence on the economic benefits of the scheme – which had previously been refused planning permission by Maidstone Borough Council and was therefore the subject of an appeal – was unchallenged by any of the opposing parties. Ellie’s evidence showed that the borough had underestimated demand for industrial land and over-estimated the availability and suitability of alternative sites for development. She expressed her opinion, supported by previous analysis commissioned by the borough council, that there is both a qualitative and quantitative need for additional employment land within the borough of Maidstone, and expressed concern that without this capacity economic growth would be hindered and the borough would continue to fall behind the wider region. The inquiry has been in the news again this week due to the controversial announcement that Maidstone Council have now adopted a new Economic Development Strategy which specifies the need to allocate the land at Junction 8 for employment use ahead of the planning inspector’s decision, thereby seemingly contradicting their arguments against the development. Read news coverage of the inquiry hereand this week’s developments here.
Volterra argues the benefits of Build to Rent

Volterra argues the benefits of Build to Rent

Volterra recently completed a report for Grosvenor on the social and economic benefits of Build to Rent (B2R) in Edinburgh. Rising house prices has resulted in a growing number of households living in the private rented sector. B2R can provide a viable, affordable alternative to home ownership and can deliver amenities above and beyond traditional rental properties. High quality housing is crucial to attracting a highly skilled workforce to contribute to the knowledge economy. B2R can accelerate the rate at which properties can be delivered which leads to increased local spending of residents in the local area, higher council tax receipts and encourages future development in the area. Volterra will present the report to key stakeholders in the coming weeks.
Why cities need to invest in infrastructure

Why cities need to invest in infrastructure

Volterra partner Paul Buchanan recently spoke at the UK Light Rail Conference in Nottingham on the importance of investing in infrastructure in city regions. Paul argued that transport enables economic growth, whilst a lack of transport constrains it and called for greater autonomy for cities in investing their own money in local infrastructure rather than depending on government hand-outs. Devolved decision making would enable better informed decisions, and better policy integration leading to greater success in individual projects and reaping increased returns. Paul also talked of the possible integration between light rail and High Speed Rail links as a way of providing useful connections between some of the more remote HSR stations and city centre locations, allowing for potential development possibilities along the new routes.
Night Tube route map released

Night Tube route map released

Volterra’s work on the Night Tube has been in the news again this week with Transport for London’s release of the new tube map for the 24 hour service. As part of a project led by partner Ellie Evans, Volterra produced a reportfor TfL and London First in 2014 assessing the scheme’s impact on the night-time economy. Our findings indicated that the Night Tube would support 1,965 permanent jobs, alongside bringing numerous other benefits including increased safety of taxi passengers, improved accessibility to Heathrow, and contributing towards a more vibrant night-time economy that would in turn increase the attractiveness of London for visitors, residents and businesses. The service is scheduled to start on five London Underground lines on 12th September. Read more in a Huffington Post article that references our findings here.
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Volterra Year Review 2014/15

We’ve had a busy and exciting year at Volterra, undertaking multiple projects for new and returning clients. The breadth of the work we do continues to expand and projects this year have ranged from planning inquiries and transport appraisals to an examination of the future of healthcare. We’re continuing to venture overseas with current projects advising on transport projects in Ireland, Canada and New Zealand. Our hand-picked expert team in Putney is growing too! Our hand-picked expert team in Putney is growing too! We’ve taken on two new consultants in the last twelve months, we’re looking forward to welcoming another graduate economist this summer, and we’re currently actively recruiting for more members of staff to join us. Our Partners have continued to be highly influential in the industry and have made numerous appearances in the media and as keynote speakers at conferences around the world (listen to one of Bridget Rosewell’s numerous features on Radio 4 here or read Paul Ormerod’s recent Guardian piece on Immigration and keep up to date with his City AM column on our blog). Read more.
The Prospects for property in 2015

The Prospects for property in 2015

Strutt & Parker and Volterra Partners held their annual conference, Prospects for Property, on Wednesday 28th January 2015 at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, London. Nearly 300 property developers and fund managers attended. The research presented at the event gave a view on the outlook for the UK economy, macro property view and individual asset classes. Paul Ormerod gave the main economic presentation, and his slides are available here. A feature of his presentation was linking movements in the returns on commercial property to a new economic emotion index he has been developing with the Centre for the Study of Decision making Uncertainty at University College, London
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Volterra make the economic case for a new garden suburb in Northumberland

Volterra recently assisted property developer Lugano in assessing the economic case of a new housing development on green belt land at Birney Hill Farm in Northumberland. The plans are for a garden suburb type development of 280 houses set within farmland and allocating 17.9 hectares to on-site public space. The proposal was initially rejected by Northumberland County Council and our assessment was in preparation for a public inquiry that took place in January, when Volterra Senior advisor Bridget Rosewell was an expert witness. Bridget proposed that the scheme would be an “essential component” in the revival of the North East’s economy, as such an attractive housing development would draw people and businesses to the area who would in turn contribute towards the region’s economic competitiveness and success. The result of the inquiry will be announced later this year. News coverage of the enquiry can be found here, and you can read our economic report here.
Volterra reviews TfL’s Economic Appraisal Guidance

Volterra reviews TfL’s Economic Appraisal Guidance

The Volterra team recently undertook a review of the transport appraisal guidance used by Transport for London (TfL). The review focused on improving the current Business Case Development Manual, which is used by TfL to determine if a new transport scheme should be given funding. We were able to give insights across a range of issues, prioritised according to the extent to which they were relevant to TfL’s investment programme and by how much they might change the valuation. Our topics included wider economic benefits, the economics of cycling, rail crowding and how it is incorporated into transport appraisals, use of multi criteria analysis for better decision making and valuation of business time savings. The recommendations of our review will help shape transport appraisal in London into the future.
Volterra investigates a potential new location for Everton FC

Volterra investigates a potential new location for Everton FC

Volterra recently produced a report investigating the potential relocation of Everton FC to a new site at Walton Hall Park in North Liverpool. The study found that up to 1,250 permanent jobs, 1,000 new homes and 30,000 square metres of leisure, retail and restaurant space could be created by the proposed plan. Everton’s 50,000-seater stadium and the rest of the development would take up between 40-50% of the available green space in the park. Whilst acknowledging that the stadium would not be a silver bullet in regard to instantly transforming a currently deprived area into a prospering community, the report does conclude that – when coupled with appropriate other complementary uses and supported by collaborative transport, economic and development strategies the plans hold the potential to unlock regeneration opportunities and may help to deliver long term step changes. Read the full report here.

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