Ahead of MIPIM, the international real estate event in Cannes, MAG Property CEO, Lynda Shillaw, explains why connectivity is vital to the East Midlands' growth.

It’s no secret that the East Midlands is founded on a strong advanced manufacturing base, enhanced by a range of many other thriving sectors. A fact that many of the global companies who locate here, like Rolls Royce, JCB and Toyota, are well aware of. Not only this, they are all perfectly positioned to take advantage of the increasingly diverse opportunities, productivity and skills offered across a region which has, for centuries, been at the heart of the UK’s manufacturing and industrial success.

Because of this rich heritage the East Midlands is a highly skilled economy where 30% of the working age population is qualified to NVQ4 or higher; helping provide talent for the specialised manufacturing, science and engineering jobs the region demands. In particular, the three cities of Nottingham, Leicester and Derby are now home to a wealth of international companies focused on healthcare, cutting-edge design and advanced manufacturing.

Diverse and thriving industry

With a GVA of £15.3bn, Leicester is the largest economy in the region, driven by an exceptional manufacturing offering and a willingness to embrace emerging sectors. The city is now even home to its very own Space Park, an ambitious initiative to develop a global hub and community based on space and space-enabled technologies. When fully open, this collaboration between the University of Leicester, the City of Leicester and the Leicester and Leicestershire Economic Partnership will combine research and teaching facilities with a range of research institutions and international commercial partners.

Similarly, Nottingham is a city that has benefitted from major investment, including significant tram infrastructure works and the construction of the £30 million BioCity building in the Creative Quarter. It is the fastest growing economy in the region too, bolstered by the emerging areas of clean technology, life sciences, digital content and advanced engineering. Its well renowned universities also help provide a strong student economy where local entrepreneurialism, innovation and competition is actively encouraged.

With a focus on aerospace, Derby is expanding in a similar way. Total employment of leading technology industries here equate to over 14,000 employees and there is a growing cluster of knowledge and skills in high-value engineering for aerospace. These high-tech industries, which have large concentrations of workers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) require a rich talent pool supported by the region’s 110,000 student population.

Keeping the region moving

As the region continues to grow, so does the need for global logistics to satisfy the huge role it plays in its success. Key to this is East Midlands Airport, which serves as the largest pure cargo airport in UK. This capability means logistics giants such as TNT, DHL, FedEx, Amazon and Royal Mail have chosen to locate globally vital hubs at this prime location, with UPS securing planning consent for a substantial new investment.

SEGRO’s Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway (SLPEMG), immediately to the north of the runway, helps support further growth. This 700 acre development has planning consent for up to 6,000,000 sq ft of logistics accommodation, as well as incorporating a 50 acre Strategic Rail Freight Interchange (SRFI) which will include a specialised rail freight terminal, capable of handling up to sixteen freight trains per day, container storage and HGV parking.

In tandem, a range of transport developments and investments adjacent to the airport will further boost the connectivity of this area. These include upgrading the M1 to SMART motorway status and improved timetabling and service patterns on the Midland Mainline.

Beyond the airport site, the planned HS2 Hub Station at Toton will provide the region with the most connected station on the high-speed network outside London. This 21st century gateway to the East Midlands will become a destination in its own right and be key to realising the significant economic benefits HS2 will bring to the region; not least the interconnectivity between the towns, cities transport hubs and employment sites that surround it, including the airport.

A stronger, more successful economy

Looking to the future, the East Midlands region is well placed to support existing growth, as well as encouraging a range of strategic new industries that can create jobs and boost skills. The airport’s aim is to deepen the role it plays in this, by driving growth through world-class connectivity, job creation and attracting investment.

The long-standing relationships MAG Property has with those businesses that choose to locate at East Midlands Airport, and the range of opportunities we can provide to new occupiers, means we are able to meet the needs of this growing economy. From expanding operations on-site to creating brand new commercial space bespoke to them, we have the property, land, expertise and connectivity to help businesses from across the globe flourish in the East Midlands.

The result is a diversified and connected place of business and innovation that helps the region deliver on its aspirations for continued success.