Manchester @ UKREiiF 2024 Day One Roundup

All of the action from the first day of the Manchester delegation at UKREiiF 2024.

Today, the Manchester Invest Partnership returned to UKREiIF for the third year with representatives from Greater Manchester’s local authorities and private sector partners ready to showcase the region’s vision for the future. With over 13,000 attendees from across the property sector, the event at Leeds Dock provides the perfect opportunity to meet with other cities, developers, investors and private sector partners. It offers a unique opportunity to discuss current projects, investment opportunities and Greater Manchester’s strength in placemaking and key sectors.

Once again, Greater Manchester is sharing the Canary Bar with Opportunity London at UKREiiF to showcase the strength of collaboration between the UK’s leading city regions. The conversations and networking that will take place over the three days of UKREiiF will drive transformative change for both regions and the UK.

Speakers from across Greater Manchester and the Manchester @ UKREiiF partnership had a strong presence across the UKREiiF programme on Tuesday 16 May, featuring panels, roundtables and discussions covering a huge range of topics from transport to sustainability.

Here is a roundup of all Greater Manchester’s activity from Day One of UKREiiF 2024.

The day began with a Welcome Reception hosted by The Manchester Invest Partnership and Opportunity London at the Canary. Cllr Bev Craig Leader of Manchester City Council and Shravan Joshi Planning and Transportation Committee Chairman for the City of London welcomed delegates over breakfast, discussing the relationship with Manchester and London, and why it is so important to work together at these leading property events.

Cllr Bev Craig said “We have to galvanise around the clear message that the two fastest growing city region economies in our country are going to drive future prosperity. When I look at Manchester we’re a truly incredible city that is continuing to go places. There’s a lot to be excited about in Manchester, we’re of the fastest-growing economies in Europe. We’re energetic, we’re excited and we’ve got the capacity to grow for the next 10/15 years. If we can continue with Greater Manchester’s growth that points to what our country can do, and that fills us with optimism.”

Then over on the Harworth Regeneration Pavilion, Aidan Thatcher Director of Place at Wigan Council joined ‘Planning For Places: What Kind of Planning Reform Can Support Long Term Regeneration and Economic Growth?’. Alongside Aidan on the panel was Lucinda Turner, Director of Spatial Planning, GLA, Lindsey Richards President, Royal Town Planning Institute and Joanne Neville Regional Head of Planning Harworth Group with Lynda Shillaw Chief Executive Officer, Harworth Group.

The panel discussed what changes should be made to planning reform and the issues greenbelt land brings when trying to solve the housing crisis or grow cities. There was also a strong focus on Greater Manchester’s Strategic Framework, Places for Everyone.

Aidan Thatcher Director of Place at Wigan Council said “Places for Everyone has been a really useful tool in the GM framework, it's been a difficult and long journey. In order to get that stability for growth across the region we needed to get that joined-up approach.

"In GM we released a lot of greenbelt land, in Wigan, we released 4 sites, 3 strategic housing sites and 1 employment site. Some authorities are up for that challenge and keen to get things moving and building.

"In Wigan, what we’re doing now is creating a really strong evidence base to demonstrate how we want our economic growth to be realised and what sectors we want to grow in."

On the Connected Places Pavilion Sarah Windrum Future Mobility Cluster Lead, HORIBA MIRA and Catherine Hadfield Principal Place Development Lead, Connected Places Catapult joined Unleashing the Power of Regional Innovation Accelerators.

Then on the Industry in Focus Pavilion, Anna Bensky Associate Director for Major Projects at MediaCity joined ‘At Your Leisure: Ingredients for Successful Destination Creation’ with representatives from Wrexham Council, Aberdeen City Council, AFL Architects and Cityheart.

The panel discussed the power of partnerships and the changing face of cities and towns, with mixed use as a more popular option.

Anna Bensky said Partnerships we see as central to everything we do. Speaking on behalf of MediaCity everything we do is in partnership, we have our anchor tenants BBC and ITV and Salford City Council.

A really good example of collaboration is the ‘We Invented The Weekend’ festival in MediaCity that was created in partnership with the city council. What that really showed us is the value of thinking outside of the box about what you can do for these destinations, festivals and events to increase footfall and are a key ingredient for success.”

After that on the Places for Life Pavilion, Tom Stannard Chief Executive of Salford City Council joined “Creating Communities Through Brownfield Regeneration.” The panel featured representatives from Leeds City Council, Birmingham City Council, Moda Living and The Cabinet Office.

Tom Stannard discussed Salford’s plans to develop over 35,000 residential properties on Brownfield land and how MediaCity is a great example of successful brownfield development to create a thriving city.

In the Bury Theatre, Cllr Bev Craig Leader of Manchester City Council joined “Energy Security, Resilience and Place: Balancing the Scales Between Policy and Practicality” with representatives from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Asper Investment Management, IFM Investors, National Grid and UK Infrastructure Bank.

Bev Craig said “Part of the challenge we have as local leaders is how we communicate a long-term plan. If you think about infrastructure, energy security and regeneration projects it needs to be coherent and joined up. How you knit it all together in placemaking is our challenge.

“I am optimistic for the role public and private sector can play in this together. It's on all of us to make sure we get that policy element right.

“We have to remember as policymakers, place is where people live and go about their lives. How we act in this space will inform their judgements and how they will view the lens of the whole climate change agenda.”

Then following that in Bury Theatre Joanne Roney CBE Chief Exec of Manchester City Council joined “Demographics and Economics – How the Living Sector is Meeting the UK’s Diverse Housing Needs”. The panel included representatives from Aviva Investors, Vigo Group, HUB and CBRE Investment Management.

Joanne Roney said “Affordability is a real challenge in Manchester, it’s a growing problem as our population increases. We have created funds that are able to help us and we are working with strategic partners, de-risking to help with the affordability challenge.

"In building affordability we don’t want to compromise on net zero or our public realm. The answer to that for me is threefold, we have to recognise our city centre is increasingly popular for all generations and rethink the perimeters We need to think about the attractiveness and availability of our wider neighbourhoods, but we can only make that an offer when rare investing in our infrastructure and amenities.

"The answer to the housing crisis has also got to be about retrofitting existing houses for net zero and energy affordability. That’s an affordability crisis. We also need to look at the quality of the private rented stock. We can’t build our way out of this housing crisis, we have to look at our existing stock."

After that on the UK Infrastructure Bank stage, Matt Bull Director of Finance at Transport for Greater Manchester joined a panel called “Financing Green Transport”. He was joined by representatives from Aviva Capital Partners and UK Infrastructure Bank and Rail Rock.

The panel discussed funding streams, private vs public sector solutions and the evolving green transport market.

Matt Bull said'The devolution of Manchester’s busses is a challenge, as you're retrofitting old fleet while juggling the new supply chain. All while trying to get people to use public transport over private. Manchester is making it work and the bee network is proof of that"

Then it was time for “The Growing Case for Inclusive Innovation in Urban Developments” with Deb Hetherington Head of Innovation Services at Bruntwood SciTech, Colin Sinclair CEO of Knowledge Quarter Liverpool, Alan Carter CEO of The Land Trust and Alex Cousins Director Devolved Government at Connected Places Catapult.

When discussing plans for ID Manchester, the city’s new innovation district, Deb Hetherington said ''Inclusive innovation starts with the team around you, having the communities involved included on your team gives the right perspective to achieve the right results”

Over on the Newsroom Stage, Cllr Bev Craig joined “Strategic Place Partnerships: Going for Growth” alongside Niall Bolger Chief Executive, London Borough of Hounslow, Cllr Lorna Fielker Leader, Southampton City Council, Pete Gladwell Group Social Impact & Investment Director, Legal & General and Jo Walker Chief Executive, North Somerset Council. The panel discussed the working relationship between central and local government including challenges and pressures, but also how local government can encourage investment in places.

Cllr Bev Craig said “Local government want to be held to account, but we just want to be held to account for the right things. The accountability and how we regard that has to work both ways, and we have to find new ways of holding national and local government to account. It works both ways.

"Having a coherent long-term plan with ambition for a place that galvanises across sectors and cross communities helps people understand the vision for the future to look like. The growth of Manchester’s economy has been supported by social value as well. In making the case for an investment in the place, it is also about the civic pride and rooting your plan to opportunity and jobs.”

Then it was time for the drinks reception on the Manchester stand sponsored by MIX Manchester, the UK’s best-connected science, innovation, and manufacturing campus. The reception provided an opportunity for networking and to present MIX Manchester’s vision to the delegation.

Speaking at the reception Joanne Roney OBE said It’s important that as cities we learn from one another and we share what is being experienced in London and growing vibrant cities like Manchester. This partnership is longstanding and its about helping our businesses and people.

We make a lot of effort to make this event purposeful and meaningful, its genuinely an opportunity for us to sit down and collaborate and drive change.

Gareth Jackson, MIX Manchester said “MIX MANCHESTER will represent the future of advanced manufacturing, innovation and lab space. We look forward to working with you and look forward to the future.

Over at Bibis Restaurant as part of the Fringe Programme, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham joined “Connecting Communities and Places Through Electric Transport” with Mayor of Liverpool Steve Rotherham. The Mayors discussed the future of electrification, from vehicles to further dependency, their vision for a greener future in the North West and how the region can become a green energy powerhouse.

Andy Burnham said “We have to join all of these things together, we’re looking at energy systems, EVs and homes separately and we need to take more of a place-based approach. We need to integrate grids, homes and transport and make it work as a place

We have the geography and the assets to be a net exporter of green energy. That’s an opportunity that is staring us in the face and we’re both set on achieving it.

Manchester and Greater Manchester have famously always faced the future and done it quickly, that’s why we have a science-based target to be net zero by 2038. We’re waiting but we're not flinching, this is our future. Others are coming in and investing in this infrastructure, but we have to get there first.”

Finally, to end the day, Cllr Bev Craig joined the Sixth Annual Chamberlain Lecture with Nick Kilby CEO of Cratus Group. During the lecture Cllr Bev Craig discussed.

Cllr Bev Craig saidLocal government can be at the forefront of getting things right. Local people want politicians to give them a hope of improving their lives and future generations lives.

"Manchester being in partnership with Opportunity London at UKREIIF shows a great vision for collaboration and not competition. Metropolitan areas like MCR has seen a transformation from post-industrial to a vibrant dynamic city"

To make sure you don’t miss any sessions that the Greater Manchester delegation will take part in throughout the rest of the conference, take a look at our programme and keep an eye on @MCRMIPIM on X for live updates from the event.