The Thames Valley: already a world-class region?
The Thames Valley is a world-class location for employers attracted by its highly skilled workforce, entrepreneurialism, beautiful countryside, excellent transport links, and business facilities and services of the highest calibre. Our sports facilities have long been recognised as first-class reflected in the success of Berkshire and, were it a country in the Rio medal table, it would rank above many G20 states.
But, the charge of lacking a diverse street vibe and after-work culture attractive to Millennials has stuck according to some of the property professionals at last week’s annual Thames Valley Property Forum. So, have the investors creating brilliant new workspaces to serve dynamic creative workforces in the Thames Valley not been paying attention?
Websites such as Alt Reading have been shining a light on the growing mix of wacky and mainstream but evermore interesting Reading-based events. New venues and new bands come and go; old favourites reinvent themselves and strong external cultural mores have taken hold - reflecting the dynamic and entrepreneurial nature of an evolving society, driven by more sophisticated demands.
Poetry slams, street food festivals, mass participation theatre, improv sessions, new comedy venues, open air cinema… to go with river swimming, hot yoga, white-collar boxing and madly successful Parkruns before we even get to the ever multiplying drinking events. NME reckons we have the best grassroots music scene in the UK with emerging Reading bands tipped for greatness.
The culture changes with the nature of its people. Reading and the Thames Valley have never seemed so vibrant, so proud and so out-there. Doing great and interesting stuff. The old joke used to be that Reading was a great place to live because it was easy to get out of: those days are long gone. The growth of this area has been exponential in recent years, and we’ve seen this reflected in our own business where our growth in this region was recognised this month in the shortlist for the 2016 Thames Valley 250 ‘Fast Riser’ award. More and more people are coming to study or to work in this region and they are staying; making it better, more diverse and more fun. And it will only get even better as the major development and transport infrastructure investments being made attract ever greater numbers of wonderful people here.
Paul Reilly and the PBA team took part in the Thames Valley Property Forum 2016: Making the Thames Valley Cool and Funky.