BCSC Student Conference 2014, London

17 November 2014



Tuesday 11 November saw the third annual BCSC Student Conference take place at the offices of BNP Paribas, who for the first year hosted the event on the 17th floor of their fabulous offices in the city of London.


Conference chair Dan Innes, Managing Director of Innesco, kicked off proceedings with a brief introduction to BCSC and details of the students one year free BCSC membership. I’m sure all you BCSC members would agree this offer provides the students with a host of opportunities throughout the next year… make sure you say hello if you spot any of them at an event soon!


Sessions began with Ian Anderson, Head of National and Retail Planning, CBRE giving a ‘Planning Expresso’.  Ian outlined the evolution of town centres and provided a review of how key planning themes have influenced retail-led developments. He also touched on how other key Government initiatives are likely to shape retail development and the town centres of the future. There were plenty of questions from the students covering themes such as S.38(6), office to residential and Gatwick expansion plans.


James Cons, Managing Director, Leslie Jones Architecture followed, presenting an overview of the key issues in the design and delivery of new shopping centres and the opportunities of increasing value in existing centres.


A networking break ensued which respectfully ended with a two-minute silence honouring those lost in World War One. Throughout the break the BCSC team interviewed some of the students and speakers to help showcase the full benefits of attending this event.
Back in the seminar room the subject matter turned to the development of major retail projects.


Jason Boyce, Senior Asset Manager of Pradera, looked into the roles of different parties in the development process, types of development, risks, funding and how joint venture relationships are structured.


Richard Francis, Director of Environment and Sustainability at Gardiner & Theobald drew on case studies in his session to address the costs and benefits of building and operating sustainable properties. Richard explored how the low carbon agenda is just the beginning for companies who are wishing to maximise profits in an era of diminishing resources but expanding expectations.
Jo Tallack the General Manager at Highcross Leicester provided a thorough overview of day to day operations in a shopping centre. Jo covered all aspects of management including engaging with retailers, brand identity, health and safety and centre policy and the key behind being a great leader and the challenges of managing a large team.


BNP Paribas provided a substantial lunch, which gave the students time to network with the speakers and amongst each other. Views from the 17th floor including St Pauls Cathedral, the London Eye and the Shard became more impressive as the day went on and darkness fell.
Katherine Simmonds, Asset Manager at John Lewis Partnership followed lunch. Presenting the dramatic change in their retail proposition from 10 years ago and detailing the continuation of change at a rapid rate. Katherine attributed this to advances in technology and customer demands for greater convenience forcing retailers and the market to innovate. Katherine also had a little help from #Montythepenguin.


The final session of the day saw Miles Dunnett, Head of Asset Management at Grosvenor outline the meaning of asset management to shopping centres, including key trends and current issues.


The session touched on research, understanding customers and retailers, maximising performance and the role of business partnerships.


The day ended with a networking session to give the students an opportunity to ask the speakers questions and to catch up with colleagues before heading home.


Another successful BCSC Student Conference. Further details on a Midlands based conference for early 2015 will be announced soon.