Enterprise Zone will need housing to succeed, warns property expert

August 19, 2011

Bristol’s planned Enterprise Zone should include homes as well as offices and studios if it is to succeed in bringing new jobs to the city, a property expert claims.

The 173-acre Enterprise Zone is expected to create 17,000 jobs in 400 businesses over 25 years, with an emphasis on the creative and hi-tech sectors.

But Gordon Isgrove, director at property agents GVA in the city, says the Enterprise Zone should look to other regenerated areas of Bristol such as Harbourside and the second phase of Temple Quay for inspiration, particularly in the way they have used houses and flats to spur regeneration.

“The inclusion of residential development has proven benefits in the creation of successful economic regeneration areas,” he said.

“The new Enterprise Zone has laid out its vision of being a hub for creative and digital industries. I would urge those planning it not to overlook the benefits of including an element of residential uses to create a truly mixed use, and creative development.”

He also said the innovative re-use of old buildings such as Paintworks showed what could be achieved.

“Residential brings with it the opportunity to create a 24/7 environment, not a mono-zone which closes at 6pm and at weekends,” said Mr Isgrove. “Security around the employment areas is helped with active use during out of work hours, and local housing can be supportive to employment prospects.

“It’s been suggested that the creative and digital sector may not be in a position to generate sufficiently high property values to support major new development. This further adds to the call to include a wider mix of uses.

“The success of the Enterprise Zone will not just be the number of jobs it creates; it will be the establishment of a sustainable city quarter where people want to live and work and which will attract property investors over the long term.”   


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