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Transformation Issue 1

Meeting the makers

Words By: James Nettleton

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Something interesting is coming... transforming the meaning of 'meanwhile'

Meet the people sowing seeds, changing perceptions and finessing their development plans through a series of temporary and not-so-temporary growth initiatives from Hillingdon to Sittingbourne.

“We have to get away from the idea that the clever, creative things we do are just space fillers before building a load of houses – that they’re cynical marketing ploys to make something seem interesting when it’s actually not. It’s about saying our inventiveness has a long-term inherent value, socially and commercially.”

James Nettleton has made a career out of bringing this mindset to U+I, where he heads up the Central Research Laboratory at The Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes as Programme Director. The incubator for start-up companies that make high-tech physical products has put real economic growth at the very centre of the £200m mixed-use scheme. The laboratory changes the nature of the landlord–tenant relationship – not just by providing start-ups with space and facilities, but by offering mentoring, deep expertise and, crucially, access to investment. We asked James to choose three of his favourite businesses making waves in Hayes. 
www.centralresearchlaboratory.com