A packed theatre at St. Antony’s College Oxford listened as David Evans, Legal Director at Blake Morgan LLP, welcomed the delegates and gave a brief introduction to the day.
The keynote address by Councillor Barry Wood, Chair of the Corridor Councils’ Leaders Group was titled ‘What does Government want the private sector to do?’
This was followed by a full programme including Bridget Rosewell OBE of the National Infrastructure Commission with a talk entitled ‘One year on: Maintaining momentum for the Growth Arc’. The arc, we discovered was the new name for the corridor.
Wendy Wilson of the House of Commons Library was next to speak on ‘New Build Housing: construction defects – issues and solutions. David Bainbridge a Partner and Head of Planning at Bidwells was next at the podium to talk about ‘Planning challenges – how do we make the planning system work for the private sector?
A panel discussion of the above speakers and including Iona Foster and Kieran Perkins of 5th Studio (5th Studio were appointed by the National Infrastructure Commission to make recommendations on the built environment of the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Corridor) fielded questions from the audience.
Lunch was served in the college dining room and then the afternoon chaired By Richard Wade, Partner and Head of Construction at Blake Morgan LLP, began with three presentations on Connectivity. The first by Matt Stafford, Divisional Director of Highways England, responsible for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway was followed by Rob Brighouse, Chair of the East West Rail Company, presenting the rail perspective and finally Adrian Wooster, Head of Network Strategy at Gigaclear speaking about that all-important role of broadband connectivity.
Martin Tugwell gave a presentation on ‘Implementation – regional or national policies?’ Martin as Programme Director at England Economic Heartland was well placed to review this.
The final afternoon session began with Emily Williams, Associate Director at Savills with a talk on ‘The Letwin Review – how can industry develop new strategies to respond to the housing challenge?’ This was followed by three leaders of Local Enterprise Partnerships giving their own perspective on the same subject ‘Industrial Strategy and connectivity and homes’. A lively panel discussion involving these speakers along with Adrian Wooster to provide his expertise on connectivity then took place before the conference broke for networking and pre-dinner drinks.
Those staying for dinner enjoyed a three course dining experience in the 1950’s styled College dining room. The three clubs supporting this conference were
- Constructing Excellence Oxford Club,
- Cambridge Oxford Corridor Constructing Excellence Club,
- London Constructing Excellence Club.