[Originally published on FMJ]
With only a season to go until the return of Royal Ascot 2019, Women in Property invited Liz Pattinson, head of capital projects and estate development at Ascot Racecourse, to share the story behind the regeneration of the Ascot Estate during Women in Property South East’s annual general meeting – a fitting time to explore how fresh starts can lead to new ideas.
By walking the audience through Ascot’s journey to date, Pattinson offered insight into how professionals working within the built environment can embrace a sense of purpose and contribute even greater social value by supporting the local economies in which they operate.
Ascot Racecourse hosts 26 racedays a year including 18 flat and eight jump races. Around 200 full-time employees service a vast property portfolio that comprises business-critical buildings (those that support raceday activity), ancillary, commercial, residential buildings and staff housing. Up to 300,000 people attend Royal Ascot over the five-day period. Between them, they consume 51,000 bottles of champagne, 160,000 jugs of Pimm’s and 10,000 Angus steaks.
Understandably, the racecourse is the key attraction within the Ascot area – not forgetting the 100 horses that race each day. Up until 2012, the surrounding areas didn’t get as much love and attention. Six years ago, The Prince’s Foundation was approached by the Neighbourhood Plan Group to facilitate a series of workshops. A report was produced a year later which, following consultation and local community engagement, identified four categories, serving as the basis for the design moving forward: high street and local economy; transport and infrastructure; community amenities; housing.
The vision is to enhance the High Street and transform Ascot for the local community by boosting daytime and night time economy through new community facilities, a local village square and green space to the south side of a new two-sided High Street that will have a range of small retail units suited to independents. Key to these improvements and the efficient flow of traffic is ensuring that parking is improved, and that the new streets provide safe and accessible pedestrian and cycle routes, particularly east-west routes parallel to the High Street. To enable this rejuvenation, a high-quality development of new homes will be provided, reflecting good local examples of architecture that respond well to the green and leafy character of Ascot.
You would struggle to find a more fitting example of how a regeneration programme can generate social value. Much like Ascot’s commitment to the community it serves, Women in Property has a similar purpose. The forum for women who are working in every pocket of the property industry believes that success and its rewards should be founded on merit and expertise rather than gender, and the association’s 13 nationwide branches work tirelessly to encourage an exchange of ideas and expertise. Last week’s event is testament to the fact that Women in Property creates opportunities, expands knowledge and inspires change. For more information about the membership benefits, please visit: https://www.womeninproperty.org.uk/non-members/how-to-join/