2020 Business Predictions: James Bailey, Managing Partner at Bruton Knowles

James Bailey

It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites the region’s business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead. It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this now for over 30 years.

While none of us possess a crystal ball, it is uncanny how accurate some of these forecasts have been over the years.

Here, Business Link catches up with James Bailey, Managing Partner at national property consultancy Bruton Knowles, based at the firm’s Nottingham office. James shares his thoughts on the emerging trends and planned projects that will impact the East Midlands property sector in 2020.

Well it was a well-worn subject in 2019 and interest is unlikely to diminish in 2020. The changing retail environment of our high street and city centres, continued pressure on operational costs for retailers and our own retail activity will continue to define commercial property during 2020. It’s difficult to imagine that next year will be anything other than challenging for the East Midlands’ high streets.

Major infrastructure projects could hold the key to unlocking wider business confidence and providing improved public services. For instance, we’ll have to wait and see if HS2 survives a Government review. The initial plan to construct a new railway line promises to create better and faster links between the UK’s major cities. However, ongoing concerns about rising costs, route options and the effects on those living alongside the line always appear to rise to the top when the project is discussed.

In Nottingham, the Broadmarsh area redevelopment, linking new public realm spaces to a new bus station, Central Library and soon to be completed £58m Nottingham College Campus will revitalise the city, and be a catalyst for further retail, residential and leisure investment.

The office market in the East Midlands is facing a different challenge. Different working practices such as more flexible and fully remote working options mean that commercial spaces will have to adapt more quickly in 2020 and be equally as flexible in what they offer, with usage, rates and leases presented with negotiable options.