Our top stories both this week and last have forecast a positive future for this region – and in both cases London’s prospects seem to be going in the opposite direction.
Last week Nick Coote explained how the Thames Valley could gain from the reluctance of people to commute back to London. This week Savills picked the brains of many of its experts on Reading and the Thames Valley and what emerged were numerous reasons for optimism.
Savills refers to research which forecasts employment growth in Reading in 2021 while London props up the employment table.
For decades we have celebrated our connections to the capital, which of course stand to increase with Crossrail. But if people are spreading out from London, then our connections to everywhere else – which are pretty good too – may become more significant.
It’s as easy to reach open countryside as it is central London and that seems to be more in people’s minds now.
We have fascinating town centre regenerations on the way in Maidenhead, Newbury and Aldershot and big schemes in bigger towns such as Station Hill in Reading and Oxford North and Osney Meads in Oxford.
And although there are many in Oxfordshire lamenting the destruction of the countryside, there are still great places and there are more on the way such as the evolving Bicester Motion and Cotswold Automotive Park.
News is also imminent on the outcome of Great Wolf Lodge’s appeal against Cherwell District Council’s refusal for a huge family water park at Bicester.
The speed of development in Swindon has picked up and long-awaited schemes seem to be gaining new importance.
With restrictions finally lifting there is a palpable desire to get on with the task of developing the region even further. With London still somewhat in the doldrums, perhaps it is up to the Thames Valley to lead the UK’s recovery.
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