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Volterra Year Review 2014/15

logo (large)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)

Keeping the Country Moving – Transport Economics

Transport economics continues to form a key part of the work we do here at Volterra and the arrival of transport specialist Paul Buchanan as a partner has led to the further expansion of the sector. With High Speed 2 pushing ahead we’ve worked on a number of projects examining the economic benefits surrounding different choices of HS2 station location, including looking into the potential benefits of basing a station within Stoke on Trent, and the advantages of a city centre station in Sheffield.  We worked with HS2 and Network Rail on options to redevelop Euston as part of HS2. We continue to challenge the existing methods of assessing the economic impact of HS2 which, by their very nature, do not allow for the dynamic transformational impacts that HS2 is intended to catalyse.

Our long standing relationship with Transport for London has continued with a number of projects looking at the future of transport in the capital including looking into the wider economics benefits case for the Bank Station Upgrade project (to include a revamp of the Bank-Monument station), and a review of TfL’s transport appraisal guidance which defines how TfL determine returns from transport investment. Our previous work advising on the economic case for the Northern Line Extension was met with positive results as the plans were given the final go ahead in the Autumn.

An exciting project with London Underground looked at the economic advantages of the Night Tube, a service which is set to start at weekends from this September. This work considers how the night time economy may benefit and the impact the night service may have on retaining London’s status as a leading world city. Ground breaking work for Crossrail considers the economic benefits derived from its procurement. It covers where and how the money is spent and how the UK gains from exports, competition, supply chains, skills, regional distribution and innovation.

Volterra’s reputation for working in an innovative way and employing new methodologies and techniques means we’re often the first choice when looking at more speculative projects helping leaders in the field look forward to new solutions in the future. Volterra founder Bridget Rosewell produced a joint report with TfL and Transport for Greater Manchester looking into long term investment in transport in cities examining a fundamental mismatch in government’s ambition to boost economic prosperity in cities and the current system used to prioritise transport investment. The study calls for devolved powers fiscally so that cities can make their own decisions on what transport to invest in. We’re also carrying out ongoing work on how future transport infrastructure could affect potential growth in London’s Growth Boroughs.

Keeping the Country Growing – Development and Regeneration

Our experience in cities economics and planning and development means we frequently work for both private and public sector clients in understanding the potential effects of proposed developments on the local, regional and national economy.

We have continued our work examining how leisure developments can have a significant economic impact on the local and wider area. We are currently working with LRCH on a proposal for a major leisure resort ‘London Paramount’ in North Kent. The proposal is the first commercial project to be granted NSIP (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project) status by the Planning Inspectorate. The development is expected to attract up to 15 million visitors a year, bringing significant economic benefits to both the local and the national economy. Another key project involved an investigation into the possible relocation of Everton Football Club to a new site at Walton Hall Park in North Liverpool. Our report found that relocating the club to a currently deprived area could raise the potential to unlock regeneration possibilities that may help to deliver long term step changes.

Our work in providing expert witness at planning inquiries has continued. We recently assisted Lugano in their appeal to develop on a site at Birney Hill in Northumberland. Our economic case argues that the proposed delivery of attractive larger homes within the development will draw highly skilled people and businesses to the area who will in turn contribute towards the region’s economic competitiveness and success. We also supported Montcalm Hotel Group’s successful appeal for a new hotel development in Finsbury Square, having shown that the proposed plans would bring both valuable jobs and opportunities to a local workforce, and continue to develop and enhance the vibrancy of this part of London. We are currently assisting with the planning process of another London luxury hotel development, making the case that support of such high end developments within the capital maintains London’s attractiveness as a centre for business and tourism ensuring that it retains its status as a truly global city.

Our economic and market analysis of the Real Estate Industry continues with our ongoing partnership with Strutt & Parker. Their annual conference ‘Prospects for Property’ took place at the end of January where Volterra partner Paul Ormerod considered the impact that economic trends could have on the property market in the next year.

Our work in growing parts of London has also continued this year with further work revising planning applications for Battersea Power station, and our economic case for a new development at Battersea Park East (transforming the area between Queenstown Road Station and Battersea Park Station) was met with unanimous approval by Wandsworth Council in the autumn.

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