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2011 September

Brontë Country – Two films and then an hotel?
Bronte Parsonage Museum sign The village of Haworth in North Yorkshire was the home of the Brontë family. The Brontë Museum is in the parsonage that was their home and where their books were created. This month two new film versions of the sisters’ books, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, will be released generating renewed interest in the authors.

RGA are currently working with a local developer preparing a Feasibility Study for an hotel in an historic, listed mill in Haworth. RGA have been involved previously with destinations driven by literary heritage: the Robert Burns Museum and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust being two noteworthy examples. This brings with it certain considerations, the need to fulfil the literary ‘pilgrims’ expectations as well as the need to cater to broader markets. For any tourists the motivations behind a visit are, as would be expected for any popular destination, an attractive location, good quality facilities and services and a range of ways in which to spend their time (and money!).

The project has been be designed to respond to the needs of the ‘Brontë Pilgrims’ who travel from around the world as well as leisure and business visitors to this beautiful part of Yorkshire. As Charlotte Brontë famously wrote “a ruffled mind makes a restless pillow” – perhaps this hotel will provide the 21st century antidote? We hope to report in later newsletters on a successful new hotel as glamorous as the new big screen productions.
FlowRider – a development in the world of surfing
FlowRider in action Now you are back from your holidays – did you see one of these? A new development in the world of surfing; Flowboarding is now the fastest growing board sport in the world. Originating in the US, sites are now found in over 25 countries and on several of Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships.

RGA are involved with a very large mixed-use scheme that includes an hotel, food and beverage, retail and leisure components. One of the elements that is being considered is a FlowRider: this provides a safe healthy, ‘outdoor’ sport to be enjoyed day or night, 365 days a year, rain or shine. The FlowRider not only provides a new ‘edgy’ attraction for the young and the sporty, it provides a dynamic new dimension to the offer of retail centres, hotels, leisure destinations, clothing and accessories brands, F&B operators and retailers alike. It is a destination in its own right and is an excellent spectator sport.

There are currently four in the UK: the FlowHouse in Bedford is part of an indoor entertainment and retail centre, Swansea in a local authority venue, the other two, in Cornwall and St Helier, both form part of an hotel resort complex beside the sea.

If RGA can be of any help in thinking how to differentiate larger mixed use developments from the standard template, give us a call.

Onslow Wave are the people who ‘make it so’ for FlowRider developments in the UK and Europe – click through the link to get in touch:  Onslow Wave
Southend Airport Expansion : a new hotel
Southend Airport Hotel Work on the new hotel at Southend Airport started last month. The airport was bought by the Stobart Group in 2008 and their development plans for a multi million pound new terminal are well underway.

RGA were involved at the beginning of the project undertaking a Feasibility Study to assess the viability, the likely performance, operation and suitability of the site, for which the results were positive.

The 129 bedroom hotel is to be branded Holiday Inn, and will be operated by Chardon Management on behalf of the owners. It will feature a sound-proofed rooftop restaurant with spectacular views over the surrounding area.

The airport is to be a fully functioning international gateway by 2012 with easyJet recently announcing they will be operating 70 flights a week to Europe. This is reminiscent of the early development of Luton Airport which was put on the map by easyJet – is Southend the new Luton? There will be an integral railway station at the airport operating fast trains to London Liverpool Street. MD of Southend Airport, Alistair Welch said ‘This hotel is a key part of Stobart’s plans to modernise London Southend Airport, it will hugely improve facilities for passengers and flight crew.’ The hotel will be open in time for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic Games.
Renewable Energy Investment – A New Income Stream
Guest contributor Henry Collin, Team Leader of Environment and Design at SAC Consulting talks us through the latest range of grants in the ‘hot’ investment arena of the moment - renewable energy.

The development of on-site renewable energy was once the preserve of wealthy green minded individuals and developers. However the introduction of generous new incentive schemes by the UK Government now makes small to medium scale renewable energy generation – both electricity and heat – a realistic and profitable venture for many businesses.

Following on from successful stimulus schemes in Europe, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has now introduced the Feed-in-Tariff (FITs) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). These mechanisms radically alter the economics of energy generation and represent a significant income generating opportunity for proactive developers. Both schemes operate by providing a guaranteed payment over 20 years for each kilowatt hour of electricity (FITs) or heat (RHI) generated from renewable sources. Further payments are made for any excess electricity fed back to the grid. The rates of payment vary according to the size and type of the generating installation, but eligibility starts from domestic scale wood fired boilers right through to small arrays of wind turbines.

Dependent on the scale and type of technology adopted, once the initial capital investment is paid off, the recipient of the FIT or RHI will receive index linked payments for the remainder of the tariff period which can represent a substantial income source. Of course the owner also benefits from much reduced – and predictable - energy costs for their operation; something which is increasingly important in the face of energy price volatility.

The FIT is now open to applicants and the final details of the RHI are due to be announced in the next few weeks. The time is therefore right to invest in renewables, reduce your home/business energy bills, generate income and cut your carbon footprint. Whatever the scale of your operation or property, it makes sense to consider renewables while these incentives are at their most attractive. In essence you will be getting paid to produce the heat or electricity you need anyway for your home or business.

RGA has formed an association with SAC Consulting whose energy team can provide independent and impartial advice on renewables opportunities. This includes feasibility studies for your sites, system sizing, financial benefits/payback analysis, planning, design and environmental support. All major installation types are supported including wood fuel heat systems, wind, solar, anaerobic digestion and hydro-electric. For more information please contact Max Gaunt at  max.gaunt@gva.co.uk
Hotel Market Watch : Coventry
RGA have developed a new market overview synopsis feature which will appear in our newsletter. The Market Watch will present a different hotel market each month and provide our opinion of the development potential on a ranking scale. This will include an evaluation of the key KPIs in an area - notably Occupancy, RevPAR and new supply in the planning pipeline. This month’s review is Coventry - if you have a particular market you are interested in or would like to discuss any region in more detail with a member of our team please do not hesitate to give us a call on : 020 7089 8899 or 0131 343 1115

To read a snapshot of what’s happening in Coventry, click through the link:

Market Watch - Coventry 9.2011.pdf

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