How can the UK’s smaller towns and cities successfully compete with larger rivals for funding, investment and skilled people? That’s what we’ll be challenging 30 experts to discover on November 9th when we host our first ever Property Rocks at HMP Gloucester Prison.
80% of the UK population lives in urban areas, and urbanisation continues at around 0.7% a year. Significant investment goes into larger cities such as London, Bristol and Birmingham, often leaving smaller towns and cities, such as Gloucester, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury, Cinderford and Cirencester behind – creating an ever-greater gulf.
But is that what people really want?
According to research, the Millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 1996) want steady engaging jobs, to be fit and healthy, have active communities, social ties and financial stability. All of these can be delivered better in smaller towns and cities than in larger ones, says Rock the Cotswolds, where the sense of community is stronger. Big cities should learn from their smaller counterparts.
Property Rocks, sponsored by national accountants Crowe Clark Whitehill, and supported by a raft of companies including Chartered Surveyors and Planning Consultancy Evans Jones, Explainthemarket.com, The Malthouse restaurant, FleeBee Films, Jakub Junek photographer and Hype Street Art, will invite experts to consider how smaller towns and cities can compete with their larger competitors, using Gloucester, Cheltenham and smaller Cotswold towns as case studies.
Property Rocks will bring together up to 30 local, national and international experts, to spend a day incarcerated in Gloucester Prison, which closed in 2013, to share ideas. Gloucester Prison is now owned by City and Country, which specialises in developing Britain’s architectural heritage and sensitive landscapes. The developer, which is supporting Property Rocks, is currently considering a variety of uses for the building, one of four former prisons it owns across the UK.
Keynote speaker for the day will be international urbanist, Charles Landry, and Rock the Cotswolds will be revealing newly-commissioned research. Local and national architects, planners, place-makers, artists, civic leaders, professionals and others will work together to contribute to a green paper which Rock the Cotswolds will share with other UK town and city councils, and regional local enterprise partnerships.
Rock the Cotswolds founder, Oli Christie, added: “We are continually revealing amazing people, businesses, artists and career opportunities, which exemplify everything that’s exciting about the Cotswolds.
“The Cotswolds is investable, exciting and can offer a unique quality of life without the energy-sapping daily commute drag and expense of our bigger cities. Property Rocks will be a melting pot of creative ideas from some of the UK’s most experienced urban planners and place-makers, creative thinkers and professionals. We want to help smaller towns and cities fight for their right to help drive the UK economy.”
Property Rocks is the brainchild of Rock The Cotswolds which aims to boost the local economy and inward investment into the Cotswolds (Gloucestershire and West Oxfordshire), helping the region attract and retain skilled people to build their careers in an area they may otherwise have overlooked.