The Year Ahead: Sam Elkington – Hit the ground running

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When looking at the prospects for 2017 one really has to look at what is going to be happening nationally and see how it could, and probably will, affect the local economy.

From a business perspective here at Lambert Smith Hampton we are set fair to hit the ground running in 2017.

We have now settled in to the new corporate structure and are nearing completion of the refurbishment of our offices on Doddington Road.

These improvements to the premises, along with the refreshing of the Commercial Property Team through the creation of new jobs, is creating a very positive feeling. We have seen the introduction of a further graduate joining the Agency Team along with an apprentice, and further senior appointments are on the horizon for early in the New Year.

We are confident of a strong 2017. This is generally despite the bank’s hardening on lending criteria. The demand remains strong for owner occupied space and we are continually looking at ways for clients to take advantage of this demand for space.

We have seen a number of businesses expanding and relocating to larger workshop/factory space and the benefits of clients building speculative space over the past 18 months is reaping significant rewards with vacant business space being taken up.

In particular, we have seen Teal Park, Lincoln’s Premier Employment Park, negotiations progressing with potential occupiers which we feel confident will lead to planning applications being submitted over the next few months. These will be for new businesses moving onto the site and also business relocations.

Further examples of growth that will start to mature during 2017 are projects such as the Wirtgen Road planing business relocating to Newark with a new seven acre site at Winthorpe.

The Riverside Enterprise Park at Saxilby is seeing a number of new buildings nearing completion and over 60% of the site is pre-sold.

The large number of residential development sites that were started during the course of 2016 will be complimented by further sites coming forward in Lincoln, Sleaford, Grantham, Mablethorpe and numerous villages.

The general supply of housing land has never been greater and the challenge will be to ensure that values are upheld and that projects are actually starting to be delivered.

The New Year will, however, bring challenges both nationally and internationally as well as on a local scale.

Nationally, the Brexit situation will need to be brought to a head quickly and clarity will need to be given by the government to maintain the momentum that it seems to be gathering.

On the international scene, it will be interesting to see what the voting in of Donald Trump will do to the world economy which will undoubtedly affect the local economy if there are any significant changes or policies brought forward.

Locally, there are a number of challenges that need to be addressed to ensure that the local economy continues to thrive. Lincoln historically has never reached the peaks and has never reached the troughs in any significant economic changes.

In particular I feel the following points will need to be positively addressed:

  • The Midlands Engine will need to be strongly promoted by the local authorities throughout the Midlands to put pressure on the government to ensure a fair representation. We will be attending the International Property Fair at MIPIM in the South of France next year with the county council to help in this process.
  • Locally devolution in Lincolnshire needs to reinvent itself and come forward with a proposal/package that is acceptable to central government. I feel it is important that devolution is a success so that the local authorities within Lincolnshire can continue to reap the benefits of positive planning going forward.
  • Work starting on the Eastern Bypass will be a very positive message sent out throughout the whole of the Midlands. This will show that Lincoln continues to grow and that there are numerous opportunities that are going to be coming forward for further development.
  • Grantham is seeing significant growth with the construction of their southern relief road and also the Grantham town centre redevelopment project, which we are working on. It is essential that these come forward to generate positive growth within the town.
  • The growth of the universities and colleges needs to continue. The University of Lincoln and Bishop Grosseteste University along with Bishop Burton College have all seen significant growth projects during 2016 and it is important that this success is built upon. There are a number of student accommodation schemes coming forward and again these can only be positive for the county.
  • Business Rates will be a challenge for 2017. Businesses will start to realise the impact of business rate increases in 2017.
  • Tourism should continue to be a major feature of the city and county. The completion of the Bomber Command Memorial will see the completion of a positive project for the county. In addition, the celebration of 800 years of the Charter of the Forest later this year will again enable the city to build on the success of the Magna Carta Exhibition of 2 years ago.

There are lots of opportunities for the new year and here at LSH we see them as significant positive challenges for us.