England: Sector Diversity and Regional Growth

With the opening of our Newcastle office, and strengthening of our offer across England, we asked our England Director, Craig Robertson, to give us his thoughts on our recent regional growth and sector diversity…

Wallace Whittle operates nationwide from our three locations in London, Warrington and Newcastle and currently have projects in Yorkshire and Manchester in the North, London and Plymouth in the South as well as Norwich in the East and Cardiff in Wales.

We’ve worked with great people on excellent projects, often providing engineering input to incorporate advanced and leading edge technologies and Modern Methods of Construction. A considerable focus has been put on achieving optimum sustainable solutions. The range of projects has been extensive, including those for blue chip clients and often working with world class architects, engineers and specialists.

Many of these developments are mixed-use and so there has always been a wide variety of challenges to meet. I have led many town centre and retail developments for Wallace Whittle, and it is rewarding to be able to work on solutions which provide a built environment for future generations, which will increasingly be integrated with Work, Rest & Play Developments.

While residential accommodation remains a core component within these projects, flexibility is also key with commercial and community facilities often included. We currently have projects which cover many sectors including residential mixed-use, incorporating affordable and market-value homes as well as private rental (PRS/BTR) apartments and serviced apartments, aparthotels, Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) in Bristol and Leeds, and CoLiving, which also provide leisure and workplace accommodation for occupiers.

I’ve seen a growth in the incorporation of leisure facilities in mixed-use urban regeneration and increasing focus on Wellbeing and community. Traditional elements such as cinemas and hotels are still very much evident but recently complemented by innovative fun options such as electronic crazy golf, high quality artisan street food, and interactive activities from darts to rock climbing.

Some of our recent leisure experience includes new Hotels for Hilton in Woking and Brighton, for Dalata in Brighton, and for Reef Group in Oxford.

Offices and contemporary workplace is a busy and growing sector, and some of our current projects include a new HQ for Royal London in the City of London at Fenchurch Street where they will relocate into the top floors of the building with 600 staff, and fit out of new offices for PayPal.

I was pleased to see completion of HB Reavis’ Bloom Clerkenwell office. We were involved in this project at the outset providing commercial expertise for their acquisition, and delivering a sustainable energy solution for the building.

We are also working with BT as part of their Better Workplace Programme an exciting strategic approach to deliver new state of the art workplace across the UK for one of the nations leading companies, having been involved with their new 6,000m² contact centre in Warrington and redeveloped workplace in Glasgow, and we have recently started on a similar refurbishment project in Cardiff of a similar size for BT.

We are also very pleased to be helping Nuffield with their new world class 10,000m² 54 bed, 5 theatre treatment centre in Bournemouth. Further project diversity is provided by our commission with Smurfit Kappa, the major packaging manufacturer, where we are integrating services solutions within their processing to optimise sustainable technologies at their plants in the North Wales.

The opening of our Newcastle office reinforces our commitment to the regional markets and will provide new opportunities for Wallace Whittle. I look forward to working with Grahame Kelly and supporting him to deliver for our clients in the northeast.