In a bid to encourage economic growth and level up regions across the UK, the government has committed to establishing at least eight freeports. Southampton is one of those regions that stands to attract investment, with the promise of more than 32,000 new jobs in the Solent area. As well as job creation, customs relief and infrastructure investment, the Solent Freeport will make Southampton a hotbed of innovation in maritime, autonomy and green growth.
But what effect is this having on the real estate sector and the UK logistics market? The exponential growth of online retail off the back of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit led to a surge in demand for warehouse space in the UK. Traditionally, this has been in the ‘logistics golden triangle’ of Nottingham, Kidderminster and Bedford, but with one of the key benefits of freeports being tax-free storage, additional warehouse space in the coastal regions is likely to be a welcome addition for the sector. Or are we just displacing businesses from one UK location to another?
In this EG Cities Live podcast, we will discuss how the UK can ensure the benefits of freeports are not just felt by the logistics sector, but a whole range of businesses. We will explore how the public and private sector can work together to ensure freeports meaningfully increase UK trade opportunities, and how Southampton can make the most of this opportunity.
Head of office and head of department, central south planning, Savills
Gavin Hall was elected a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 2002 and joined Savills in 2003. He holds a first-class BSc (Hons) in geography and an MSc in city & regional planning. He is currently head of Savills Southampton office. He specialises in complex urban regeneration, waterfront and infrastructure projects for public and private sector clients. He is results-driven, providing a dynamic, client-focused commercial approach to delivering viable consents that add value to the built environment. He is chairman of the Hampshire chamber planning and transport committee, is a member of Business South and is a representative for Savills on the Solent LEP. Gavin has become an advocate for the recognition of the Central South in order to enable levelling up of the region with other parts of the UK.
Managing Director, Omega-Re
Nella Pang MRICS, Managing Director Omega RE, Host of Top 5% of Global podcasts Let’s Talk South Coast, a part of the leadership board of Southampton Chamber of Commerce and a role model for College of Estate Management.
She is a chartered surveyor with 18 years of commercial property experience. Having acted for a wide range of clients from major pension funds to private investors, small businesses and individuals.
While on secondment with Refinitiv, managing their EMEA portfolio, she gained a new perspective on standard agencies and an insight into alternative ways of operating and cultures. Having worked for the big corporates, she is keen to share her corporate knowledge with a personal touch and is on a mission to help investors, landlords, occupiers, operators and service providers on the South Coast of England – across Hampshire and Dorset to see the opportunity that exists when we work collaboratively and highlight just why the South Coast is the place to invest.
She is passionate about supporting businesses to adapt and evolve post-pandemic, to future proof their business. Nella supports businesses to navigate the complexities of Commercial Real Estate and ensures that their business objectives are aligned with their property decisions.
Deputy fund manager, Fiera Real Estate Logistics Development Fund
Freestone joined Fiera in 2020 and is the deputy fund manager for the Fiera Logistics Development Fund and Fiera Real Estate Opportunity Fund V. FRELD is the firm’s first logistics sector-focused development vehicle which will take advantage of the unprecedented occupier and investor demand for logistics real estate. The fund closed with an initial £185m and strong focus on ESG, with all projects targeting net-zero carbon construction. FREOF V is a UK-focused opportunity fund that has deployed £180m of capital into projects including 1.5m sq ft of logistics and Southampton’s maritime gateway – a £200m GDV mixed-use scheme comprising 600 build-to-rent flats, a 60,000 sq ft office and an outline consent for an eight-storey residential/office/hotel building.
Senior director, Turley
Irvine has a strong understanding of development and infrastructure issues across the South East. He joined Turley in 2005 and is responsible for leading the Southampton office and providing direction to the strategic communications service. He is a member of the British Chamber of Commerce expert planning panel. Irvine has 20 years’ private sector experience. He works extensively in the residential and commercial sectors, offering a range of expertise relating to the preparation of planning applications and the promotion of land. His core skills include major infrastructure, housing and employment land promotion and a strong understanding of commerciality. He also provides advice on planning policy at national and regional levels. Through his role as a client lead for the Barker Mill Estates, he has developed a strong understanding of development issues in the South Hampshire area and works extensively with authorities in and around Southampton.
Ecosystem director, maritime & ports, Connected Places Catapult
White leads the maritime and ports vertical at Connected Places Catapult. He has led various digitalisation and decarbonisation initiatives with public sector, academia and industry partners, including the Freeports Playbook, Moving on the Mersey project, several successful Clean Maritime Demonstrator projects and the DfT Ports of the Future blueprint. White has experience across the maritime, defence, manufacturing and engineering sectors through previous positions at Rolls-Royce and Lloyd’s Register, leading work in clean maritime, materials science, autonomous ships, cyber security and digital twins/analytics for connected assets. He is a member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, holds a BSc in environmental science and is an enterprise adviser for the Greater Lincolnshire LEP and a maritime ambassador for the Maritime UK Careers programme.
McClary has almost 20 years’ experience in real estate and business journalism, covering a wide range of topics. Alongside making sure EG delivers the best, most helpful, most accurate and, of course, most interesting content to EG’s readership across all platforms – print, online and audio – she also plays a leading role in enabling and delivering a more diverse environment for the real estate community through EG’s REWIRE and tech initiatives. A keen chair and regular wearer of too bright trousers, she seeks to help keep panel discussions and events lively with audience participation and insightful questioning
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