Manchester at UKREiiF 2023 Day Three Round-Up

It was all about breakfast, biodiversity and Bolton, for the final day of UKREiiF. Learn more about what our delegation got up to on Thursday 18 May 2023 in our round up blog.

Thursday 18 May 2023 may have marked the last day of UKREiiF 2023, but the Greater Manchester delegation was still on site in force ready to showcase the best investment opportunities across our region.

The Canary was once again open for our partners to network and host meetings, providing a space for potentially game-changing and impactful conversations between local authorities, private sector partners, investors and more.

If you couldn’t make day three of UKREiiF 2023, here is a roundup of the highlights from the final day of activity:

Our final day started on The Canary with the most important meal of the day as Bolton Council brought a flavour of the world-famous Bolton Food and Drink Festival to our stand. MasterChef winner Simon Wood served up a delicious breakfast for our delegation while delegates had the opportunity to hear how Bolton’s regeneration will use its strengths as a hotbed of the performing arts, and as a host of word class events such as the Food and Drink Festival, IRONMAN UK and the recent Rugby League World Cup to fuel development ambitions.

Breakfast made by MasterChef Winner Simon Wood on The Canary

Lee Fallows Director of Corporate Resources at Bolton Council said As many of you know Bolton Food and Drink Festival is one of the key events we throw every year. It brings in about half a million visitors every year. Culture and visitor experience are at the heart of the regeneration we want to do in Bolton.”

Nicola Littlewood, Head of Marketing and Communications at Bolton Council said “This year is the Bolton Food and Drink Festival’s 18th birthday party and what we know is Bolton likes to party. Its economic impact brings about £7.2 million into Bolton during that weekend. We're multi-award winning and we're homegrown.

“What we’re trying to do is grow our creative industries. We have so much filming and it’s important that Bolton focuses on that as its USP. It’s about driving businesses into the town, supporting our residents to live healthier lifestyles and supporting the hospitality industry which has had a tough few years.

“Bolton has a growing reputation but what we want to do is make Bolton a great place to invest in. Bolton always punches above its weight, and we’ve got ambitious plans.”

Stephen Wild, M Stephen Wild Executive Director for Strategic Investment and Growth at Peel L&P discussing investment opportunities in Bolton

Stephen Wild, Stephen Wild Executive Director for Strategic Investment and Growth at Peel L&P saidWe’ve been really keen to engage with the local community to understand what they want. How do we engage? How do we get the legacy? How do we work with young people?

“We’re also trying to understand how we can get a skills agenda in Bolton to make it different and focus on life sciences. Bolton is such an innovative place.”

Then, on the JLL Pavilion, Laura Percy, Development Director at U+I represented the Manchester delegation in the panel “Implementing Nature and Biodiversity into Real Estate.” Joined by Helen Nyul, Group Head of Biodiversity at Barratt Plc, Josephine Quint, Finance Sector Advocacy Manager at WWF and Amanda Skelton Climate and Nature Director at JLL, Laura discussed U+I’s Mayfield project in Manchester, the first public park in the city centre over 100 years as well as how developers can prioritise nature, from building it into developments at the beginning to deploying nature-based solutions.

Laura Percy, Development Director at U+I discussing “Implementing Nature and Biodiversity into Real Estate.”

Laura Percy said When the council brought forward the site for regeneration a few years ago it was a derelict brownfield site in the heart of Manchester, it was pretty rough. One of the really special parts of the story was that we were able to work with the public sector to make that happen.

In Manchester, we’ve got Victorian architecture then the mid-century overlay and we opened that out. The biodiversity net gain that’s come from that is off the scale. We’ve seen Brown trout and kingfishers in the heart of Manchester City, it’s a really thriving place.

People want to feel the impact of nature. People want to feel the benefits of health and wellbeing. They want to be in places that recognise nature is at the heart.

We’ve got a large mixed-use site so we’ve got the opportunity to do some really exciting things. Mayfield is a testbed but when we look at the scale of master planning that were doing there, it is 26 acres. I don’t know of any other examples that have put as much investment into nature unless we go abroad.

Not thinking within our red-line boundaries is important. The point of collaboration helps that, let’s take down the boundaries and work together.”

In the final panel for Greater Manchester at UKREiiF 2023, the spotlight was on Bolton once again. Sue Johnson Chief Executive of Bolton Council, Tim Heatley Co-Founder of Capital & Centric, Joseph Daniels Founder of Project Etopia, Darran Lawless Development Director at Placefirst, Lynne Cawthorn Head of Product and Process at Stateside Foods and Stephen Wild Executive Director for Strategic Investment and Growth at Peel L&P came together to present “The Bolton Blueprint: A Bold Vision for 2040 and beyond”.

The Bolton Blueprint: A Bold Vision for 2040 and beyond

Panellists from the world of business, urban development and regeneration discussed why they chose to invest in Bolton and the many regeneration opportunities available across the borough.

Sue Johnson, Chief Executive of Bolton Council said We have a mantra that is ‘Bolton first, politics second’ the political desire for regeneration and for the borough hasn’t altered.

"We are open for business, we have an amazing can do attitude, the politics is in a positive place. We are here to say ‘work with us and talk to us’ and people do it with a smile on their face because they really enjoy working with us .”

Tim Heatley, Co-Founder of Capital & Centric said We’ve done a lot in Manchester City centre and the feedback that we got was that when people moved to the suburbs there wasn’t the same quality of homes, the same net zero homes and the same sense of community. We chose Bolton because transport is key but you get that sense of can do and ambition, they get what we wanted to achieve.”

Joseph Daniels Founder of Project Etopia discussed Bolton's innovative approach to community engagement in placemaking and announced "Bolton will be the first town in the world to walk through a development with gamification. Were about to give people the chance to communicate with planners for the first time in their community through games and it's exciting.

Development isn’t enough. If you go to any of the people on this stage and experience what they want to do its forward thinking and we’re innovating."

Darran Lawless Development Director of Place First Ltd said "There’s a lot of positivity in Bolton and a real clear sense of direction from the local authority and support from the Combined Authority.

Bolton has got a lot of history, people are very proud to say they’re from Bolton and people want the opportunity to live in Bolton in a good home. It’s a very positive story.

On Bolton's ambitions to host the Ryder Cup, Stephen Wild Executive Director for Strategic Investment and Growth Peel L&P said "You can always grow innovation around the core strengths of a place. However, what we have been seeking do to for a number of years is looking at how to repurpose and reuse Hulton Park.

This is Bolton's Olympic moment. It is the catalyst for something far wider and outs Bolton on the international stage."

Giving a local business perspective, Lynne Cawthorn Head of Product and Process Stateside Foods said, "We are a large food manufacturer. We’re one of the largest employers in the area. We do a lot of work with Bolton Food Festival and also look to promote the food and drinks industry in the local area

We will be investing another 40m in our site. We have a strategy and we don’t want to become landlocked. We will be expanding our boundaries and capacity and creating another 200 jobs.

And that marks the end of Greater Manchester’s time at UKREiiF.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to the Manchester at UKREiiF partnership, our speakers, The Canary for hosting us, Opportunity London for partnering with us and of course, UKREiiF for having us.

In case you missed them, don’t forget to read our event round-ups from day one and day two of the event.