Scott Harkness, head of commercial at Carter Jonas, outlines critical growth sectors and regions for the commercial property market in 2019:
“Life sciences will continue to be a critical growth sector for the UK and substantial steps have already been put in place by the Government to nurture the sector further. The reopening of the Varsity Line to link the key knowledge hubs of Oxford and Cambridge is one such project, but there has also been a significant push to enable the provision of affordable housing to support the growing workforces in these supply constrained cities. However, Brexit remains a major concern.
“Our universities and research and development centres – from Leeds to Bath – rely heavily on the easy movement of people across borders. Whilst the UK will still be a knowledge-based economy regardless of Brexit, academics and expert staff are required to work on projects and advance learning so the potential knowledge drain is a serious concern if the necessary framework isn’t in place.
“Ensuring that the correct infrastructure is in place is important to ensure that our world-leading centres continue to grow, national policy needs to trickle down to grass root levels. These plans can then be implemented with the support of local communities.
“Despite the Brexit headwinds, demand for science parks and other high tech workspaces appears to remain undented. We have advised on speculative development on the Oxford Science Park to meet the demand from growing life science and technology businesses. We expect to see further growth of key science and technology hubs across the country in 2019.”