Business South Action Group Chair Tim Hancock Talks Regenerate South
Tim Hancock, Chair of Regenerate South and MD of Terence O’Rourke, talks about his vision for the Regenerate South initiative and what to expect from the forthcoming Regenerate South Conference
Ahead of the upcoming conference, we sat down with Tim Hancock, Chair of Regenerate South and MD of Terence O’Rourke, to discuss all things Regenerate South.
How are you involved with the Regenerate South initiative?
I’ve been involved with Regenerate South since its inception in 2015. As current Chair, my aim is to encourage more businesses to get involved with shaping the vision for the Region’s future, and tackling some of the key challenges that we face through the geographical fragmentation of local government and LEP boundaries.
What’s the vision for Regenerate South?
Put simply, Regenerate South believes that there is a great deal to gain from businesses, the Local Enterprise Partnerships, MPs and local councillors working together to promote the South Coast Region as a whole.
Many areas want to promote their particular local area, but as we have seen from the success of other regional initiatives in the UK, collaboration is key.
A fine example is the need for everyone to work together to secure rail improvements, given how many people rely on the London to Weymouth and Portsmouth rail links.
We are delighted to hear about the launch of the Heathrow Southern Rail Link, but it is important to have a regional perspective and approach.
How does your knowledge and experience as MD of Terence O’Rourke support the Regenerate South initiative?
At Terence O’Rourke, we are privileged to have supported some of the highest profile projects in the region and see them succeed, often against all odds. Some great examples include the McLaren Campus, Bournemouth Airport, Farnborough Exhibition and Conference Centre, Marwell Zoo, the University of Southampton and Lloyd’s Register Marine and Maritime Institute, the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre, Bournemouth Town Centre Master Plan Vision and BMW’s Rolls Royce factory.
We’ve also worked on behalf of a number of global institutions and sovereign wealth funds, looking for opportunities to invest in the UK.
My experience of working with these great companies and projects has inspired me to help other initiatives succeed in the region.
I am also an active member of London First, which has been very effective in representing Southern business interests in the capital.
Why should local property stakeholders be looking to get involved with Regenerate South?
Businesses are not well represented in community and local government debates about the future of their regions, in contrast to the many action groups and ‘nimbys’ who want to frustrate growth and new development.
This is perhaps understandable given the competing demands on business leaders’ time, but it is nonetheless vital that the voice of business is heard in such debates.
Regenerate South provides an opportunity to be informed about what’s going on in the region and to share experiences with other like-minded businesses.
Importantly, through Business South, there is an opportunity to identify key issues that businesses see as priorities, and to ensure that emerging plans provide for and support economic growth and the needs of business expansion.
What can we expect from the forthcoming Regenerate South Annual Conference?
The Regenerate South Annual Conference 2018 will be showcasing the region’s success stories and to demonstrate that the South Coast is a great place to live, work and invest.
A key objective is to foster better working relationships to promote the region as a whole, where the sum of the parts can deliver more. We enjoy some of the nation’s best natural environments, such as the national parks, beaches and wildlife, with a concentration of world class companies, powered by the main urban areas Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Southampton and everywhere in between.
The conference aims to explore a number of key issues: firstly, helping to shape an economic vision and industrial strategy for the region, working with the LEPs, local authorities and businesses.
Secondly, we want to help secure investment in key infrastructure, particularly links to the Port of Southampton and with London and Heathrow.
Our third aim is to look at skills and talent, working with the universities and local authorities to ensure we continue to attract and retain the highest calibre people with the skills needed to sustain growth.
The fourth and final key theme is to look at collaborative branding, joining up Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and other key areas to promote a cohesive voice for business in the region.
How will the Regenerate South Conference benefit our region?
Crucially, I believe that the success of the South Coast region depends on collaboration and effective strategic leadership. Through the engagement and outcomes from the Regenerate South Conference, Business South is ideally placed to help MPs, local authorities, businesses and LEPs to work together to deliver for their individual organisations and communities, and for the region as a whole.