Prospero Ansty Park in Interview with Rugby Borough Council

Prospero Ansty Park is a one of the UK’s most significant business parks. Situated on a 196-acre employment site in Rugby, 6 miles to the north east of Coventry City Centre, Prospero Ansty Park offers an excellent solution for both businesses and employees.

Since the launch of Prospero Ansty Park, Manse Opus, developers of the scheme, have worked closely alongside Rugby Borough Council to bring forward much-needed, high-quality real estate to the Midlands.

We have spoken to Mannie Ketley, Executive Director and Head of Paid Service, and Nicola Smith, Chief Officer for Growth and Investment at Rugby Borough Council (“RBC”) to find out more about their plans for the borough.

Profile: Mannie Ketley

Job Title: Executive Director and Head of Paid Service

Time in the role: Two years

Job role:  Overall management of the Council, turning its corporate strategy into reality.

Profile: Nicola Smith

Job Title: Chief Officer for Growth and Investment

Time in the role: 6 months

Job role: Ensuring growth and investment activities can deliver the Council’s Corporate Strategy, emerging Economic Strategy and its adopted Local Plan.

Q: What are your major visions and targets for growth across the borough over the next few years?

A: Rugby is one of the country’s fastest growing towns.  The Council’s Local Plan sets out it vision for growth across the Borough up to 2031 to deliver 12,400 additional homes and 208 ha of employment land.

In 2031, Rugby will be a place where the community has worked together to create a Borough where people are proud to live, work and visit. Strong links and relationships within the Coventry and Warwickshire sub-region and neighbouring East Midlands authorities will be maintained and strengthened.

The economy will be strong and provide a range of high-quality employment opportunities suitable for the whole community which will in turn be supported through excellent links to local schools, Warwickshire College and local universities.

Infrastructure to support growth will be phased into developments in such a way to ensure impacts are properly mitigated.

Residents within the Borough will be well connected by a sustainable public transport system, incorporating excellent rail and bus links to ensure access to employment, health and local services, and a network of footpaths providing pedestrian links to local facilities and the open countryside.

The sustainable growth of the town and Borough to meet the needs of the community will be balanced with protection and enhancement of the Borough’s historic environment and existing natural assets through the creation of a strategic green infrastructure network. Development will be accommodated in ways which reduce our carbon footprint as well as protecting and enhancing the area.

Q: How do business Parks, such as Prospero Ansty Park, fit into your vision?

A: To deliver its vision, the Local Plan has a number of objectives. The specific ones that relate to the economy are:

  • To ensure the Borough has an expanding and diverse economy where manufacturing and engineering remains strong, the service sector grows and there is not over reliance on logistics, transport and distribution.
  • Ensure that all businesses, whether large or small, can locate and operate in Rugby through the provision of a varied portfolio of employment land that offers space for companies to commence trading and then stay within the Borough as they grow.

Business Parks are essential to achieving these objectives and to encourage and support economic growth and attract inward investment across the Borough.   Business Parks allow the development of purpose-built spaces, for modern day working practices and enterprises that can be concentrated together which also allows for the clustering and development of skills which drives diversity in the employment sector.

Q: What are the most significant property sectors for RBC currently? Have the past two years changed these priorities?

A: The Council is currently working on an Economic Strategy which will review the sectors that currently exist in Rugby and where the gaps are.  It will also assess how the last two years has affected these sectors and what the opportunities are for growth in the future.  We see the Economic Strategy as essential for Rugby to have a clear vision of what our employment offer should be and how we need to work with our partners to deliver growth and investment in these sectors.

Q: With sustainability getting ever higher on developers’ checklists, aiming to meeting the Governments targets of Net Zero Carbon by 2050, what do the Council expect to see change in the real estate sector over the coming years? How much importance is being placed on sustainable initiatives in the planning process?

A: Climate is a golden thread that runs through all of the Council’s policies and strategies.  Climate is one of the 4 areas of focus in the Council’s Corporate Strategy.  The Council’s Climate Change Strategy will be adopted later this year which will see the Council commit, as an organisation, to be net zero by 2030.

The Council’s Local Plan adopted in 2019 is focused on how the Council can influence changes in behaviour and constructions practices through the planning process. The Council has key policies to tackle air quality along with a specific Air Quality Supplementary Planning Document and Air Quality Action Zones.  In partnership with Warwickshire County Council, Rugby also has advanced Biodiversity Net Gain policies which will allow the Council to imbed the requirements of the Environment Bill in all new development.  The Planning Team are also producing a Climate Change and Sustainable Construction Supplementary Planning Document which will cover both residential and commercial developments and the changes that will be required in the construction and powering of new buildings.