To address the shortage of supply of commercial property in the Cambridge region.

Commercial Space Project Group Chair: Chris Bartram MA FRICS* – Non-Executive Director of Land Securities Group Plc

Chris Bartram MA FRICS is an Honorary member of Cambridge Ahead and a Wilkins Fellow of Downing College. He was Chairman of Orchard Street Investment Management LLP until his recent retirement. Chris was a founding Partner of Orchard Street when it was established in 2004. Over his 11 years as a Partner, Orchard Street grew from around £800m assets under management at inception, to over £5bn assets under management today.

Prior to Orchard Street, he held a number of senior board positions at leading commercial property companies such as Haslemere NV and Jones Lang Wootton Fund Management. As a former President of the British Property Federation and Chairman of the Bank of England Property Forum, he has in excess of 30 years’ experience in the commercial property market.

Project Team Members

Matthew Bullock* Master, St Edmund’s College, Cambridge
Mark Cottrell – Property Director, Arm
Martin Dougherty – Chief Operating Officer, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Genome Campus
David Gill – MD, St. John’s Innovation Centre*
Dr Ying Jin – Director of Studies and Fellow of Robinson College, and lecturer at the Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge
Nick Mansley – Executive Director, Cambridge Real Estate Research Centre
Will Mooney – Partner, Carter Jonas
Jane Paterson-Todd – CEO, Cambridge Ahead*
Rob Sadler – Head of Cambridge Office, Savills*
Jeanette Walker – Director, Cambridge Science Park
Dick Wise − Partner, Bidwells*

*Member/Member Organisation

Project Overview

The remit of the Commercial Space group is to:

  • Monitor & Advise: Harnessing the group’s very specific expertise we monitor trends in occupier requirements and legislative change and advise on the impact these changes may have in affecting occupier demand, the provision of space and the availability of institutional capital to invest in the sector.
  • Research & Communicate: We commission and periodically refresh reliable data on commercial space demand and supply levels in all main areas of employment space and communicate that to both the membership and wider audiences as appropriate.
  • Consider & Respond: Interfacing with other Project Groups – particularly Growth, Transport and Digital Connectivity – we comment on their projections and predictions to consider and analyse the developing preferences or needs of occupiers in those related areas.

Progress to date

The provision of commercial space, across all sectors of employment and research activity, is fundamental to local economic sustainability.

Change in the supply of commercial space depends in part on the availability of institutional or other private capital in substantial amounts. Demand and supply data is critical to investment decision taking. We have focused our efforts on monitoring local demand and supply, which in turn has enabled us to comment and advise on the range of accommodation available, the preferences of occupiers in the type and quality of space they require and the location of that supply and demand. The interface with transportation options will dictate where employment space is created or maintained and our research ensures we are alert to these influences, and are aware of the areas in which private capital can be attracted to invest.

Specifically, we have been working to define and identify the characteristics of business incubator space which supports Cambridge entrepreneurs at the earliest stages of their company’s development. This work has now being extended to add more detail in relation to ‘wet lab’ space as a specialist component of the Cambridge market.

The Commercial Space Project Group also plays an important role in the inter-related growth studies underway across the wider Cambridge Ahead organisation and we are closely involved in the development of the spatial modelling scenarios being undertaken by the Growth Project Group. We are also assisting this group on a wide-ranging spectrum of important influences of growth and economic sustainability in this area.

In the future

We are actively pursuing additional research to create an evidence base to inform the local debate on how future commercial space needs are addressed, as well as engaging those involved in the provision of commercial space in making the case for Cambridge. 

We will be working with the Growth Project group to consider and respond to projections and predictions from the Growth Model output, as well as collaborating with both the Transport and Digital Connectivity groups to understand and comment on their predictions around the developing preferences or needs of occupiers in those related areas.  

Interesting Research & Publications


01223 653023


Sarah Brereton, Director, Limewash
01223 813 557

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