Name: Jemma Newsome ([email protected])
Job Title: Environmental Due Diligence Consultant
Organisation: WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff
No of employees: 34,000 worldwide (130 Exeter based)
What makes Exeter and the sub-region special / interesting to you personally?
For me it is the vast array of beautiful landscapes; from rugged Dartmoor to the spectacular coastline, there is something for everyone. Exeter is a friendly and historical city where I enjoy strolling along the cobbled streets and soaking up the culture. Next on my list to explore are Exeter’s 14th Century Underground Passages.
How long has Exeter been your base? When did you come to Exeter and what made you move here?
I moved to Exeter in January 2015 having worked in both our London and Birmingham offices previously. My reason for moving to Exeter was to be close to family and to put down some permanent roots and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It’s great to see how Exeter is evolving and I’m excited to now be a part of it.
What do you think makes Exeter so successful?
Its uniqueness, Exeter is well known for its friendly atmosphere, great architecture, and local produce. Exeter is also very well-positioned geographically, making it a great city to be based from but also to travel across the UK if required. Exeter’s airport and railway links provide fantastic connections to anywhere across the world.
What do you consider the biggest achievements for your firm in the City over the last few years?
Since moving to the area I have had the opportunity to get involved with local projects where I have provided commercially-focused environmental due diligence support to parties involved in numerous property and corporate transactions across the retail and commercial sectors.
We have a fantastic multi-disciplinary team based in Exeter and due to this we have had the opportunity to work on some very high profile local projects including the original redevelopment of Princesshay, as well as the current Bus Station redevelopment proposals. We have also been involved in the Cranbrook development from its feasibility stage in the 1990s through to the current applications which will take it to 7,500 houses; the development of the Science Park site, including the new ‘Supercomputer’ building for the Met Office; the Utilities Capacity Study for the Cranbrook development; and the Transport Assessments for the redevelopment of Exeter Bus Station.
How do you hope to see your business grow over the next 5 years?
Our targets are to continue retaining and recruiting world class talent, promoting a culture of learning and thought leadership and improving our technical competency and design management processes.
Locally, plans for the Due Diligence team are to continue establishing and nurturing client connections to ascertain a wider understanding of the property market in the South West. Personally, I am keen to develop my relationship with fellow professionals locally so that networking is a social experience, not just work.
What do you think are the opportunities and challenges for Exeter as a leading centre for business, tourism and retail in the South West?
One of the main opportunities and challenges is the redevelopment of Exeter bus and coach station. The facility is low quality and a poor arrival experience to the City, and I feel that, once built, the redevelopment will transform Exeter, creating a welcoming environment for locals and visitors alike. The development will also provide a great opportunity for new businesses whilst also encouraging more visitors to the area for its broader leisure and retail offer.
How do you work with other businesses and organisations locally?
Locally I predominantly work with investors, building surveyors and regulatory bodies; from consulting the Council to determine the planning history of a site, to visiting a property with a building surveyor to assess for potential contaminated land liability issues. The positioning of our office in Southernhay also enables us to be at the forefront for local events, client meetings and consultations.
What do you enjoy in the City in your leisure time?
I love to explore the hidden cafes, stroll along the quayside and take advantage of the City’s many cycle routes. I also enjoy discovering the many independent retailers across Exeter!
Are there any stand-out businesses/ people in Exeter which you have met?
Yes – St Petrocks, the Charity located in Cathedral Yard provides essential support to people who are homeless or vulnerably housed in and around Exeter.
We have been supporting the Charity by donating clothing items and bedding, and plan to continue our relationship with them going forward.
Our 'Why Exeter?' feature is a series of blogs from leading business people in Exeter, talking about their careers, their aspirations and why they choose to live and work in Exeter and the sub-region.
If you would like to be featured in our 'Why Exeter?' blog, please get in touch with the Chamber Team on 01392 431133 or email [email protected]