Bidwells helps Brookgate secure development funding in Cambridge

08 December 2016

Property development firm Brookgate has hired Bidwells to secure development funding for a 163,000 square feet ‘Grade A’ office development. A deal was recently closed, with Aviva Investors providing £87 million in forward funding for the project.

Brookgate is a Cambridge-based property development and investment company, specialised in mixed-use schemes. One of the company’s major initiatives is the development of the new CB1 city quarter in Cambridge. The development, which offers everything from residential and office space to recreational and retail space, is focused on blending the city’s long heritage with more modern flavours. The new city quarter, which has been designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, has already attracted key businesses looking for ‘Grade A’ space, including Microsoft, Deloitte, Thales, Mott MacDonald and Carter Jonas.

One of the development areas is 50 & 60 Station Road at CB1, Cambridge. The area will see an office development spanning 163,000 square feet, and is the largest speculative ‘Grade A’ office building in the development.

CB1, Cambridge property development

Specialty consulting firm Bidwells acted on behalf of Brookgate on the development funding. Aviva Investors, acting for Aviva Life and Pensions UK, has provided £87 million in forward funding for the 50 & 60 Station Road development. The deal provides Aviva Investors, according to Andrew Appleyard, Senior Director at the company, with a long-term sustainable investment, “underpinned by an exciting local economy at the forefront of innovation in pharmaceutical, biotech, life sciences and many other areas of technology."

“The speculative funding deal with Aviva Investors is a hugely significant step in the completion of CB1. This deal forms part of £434 million of funding secured so far at CB1, helping to ensure that Cambridge continues to attract large multinational firms and retain its position as a major business and technology hub", explains Sven Topel, Chief Executive of Brookgate.

The project, which has received planning consent, is projected to be completed by February 2019. Teams from Bidwells (from the Business Space, Retail and Leisure practices) will be engaged to provide letting for the 50 & 60 Station Road development.

Commenting on the collaboration with Brookgate, Saul Western, a Partner at Bidwells, says, "Bidwells has been working alongside Brookgate on the implementation of the masterplan and has worked on a number of areas from planning, development funding, retail and business space agency sales and ongoing management and lease consultancy service.”


How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.