On Tuesday 17 May 2022, 4,000+ attendees came to Leeds Docks for UKREiiF for the first day of the conference which celebrates real estate and investment. This three-day event aims to bring together every core UK city region with public sector representatives, Government, investors, funders, developers, housebuilders and more to discuss real issues surrounding development and investment within each region. It’s also an opportunity for each city region to showcase the scale of their development and introduce future investment opportunities.
Greater Manchester attended UKREiiF with its Pavilion in collaboration with the Liverpool City Region. The Canary is a unique events space in the heart of Leeds Dock, which Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region will use throughout the event to host partners, to facilitate meetings and networking events for partners.
There were also speakers from across Greater Manchester participating in talks around a number of topics including inclusive growth and social value, the future of real estate, building better communities and reaching net-zero targets.
For those who couldn’t attend the event, we wanted to round up some of Greater Manchester’s highlights.
Greater Manchester’s time at UKREiiF was kick-started with Manchester City Council Leader Bev Craig joining a panel on Levelling Up Across the UK. Bev was joined by Mayors and council leaders from major cities across the UK including Edinburgh, Bristol, Belfast and Cardiff. During the talk, Bev stated, “If we are to genuinely level up, we need to look at how government decisions are framed and how we, over a period of time, take a view of the country which is less centralised. Levelling up can mean anything to anyone. Cities like Manchester will continue to set our articulate visions of what we will be in the future, it’s for government to put that into action.”
At the same time, Wigan took centre stage with Wigan Council’s session, “Introducing Wigan”. This provided an opportunity to present the town’s potential to developers, investors and more by discussing large scale commercial and residential developments including the total redevelopment of the town centre. Alison McKenzie, Chief Executive and Aidan Thatcher, Director of Economy and Skills, both of Wigan Council took to the stage to talk about the opportunities in the town, with both ongoing projects and future development plans.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham joined city region mayors from across the UK including West Yorkshire and North of Tyne, in a talk around levelling up entitled “Leaving No Place Behind”. When discussing Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham stated, “The new era is here. We want our residents to have better homes, better jobs, and better transport. The character of Greater Manchester is that you’ll never walk on by on the other side, you want to do something and not leave people or places behind.”
Gerry Brough, Director of Place Development for Bolton Council, joined a panel discussion called “Breaking the Mould: How can UK towns and cities innovate when funding major regeneration projects?” The talk discussed funding for local councils and how facilitating collaboration between the public and private sectors will enable growth. During the talk, it was suggested that Manchester should become a blueprint for other towns and cities, with its strong sense of identity and pride in its progress.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, provided a keynote at the Department for International Trade Pavilion. In his speech, Andy Burnham said “Pragmatic, imaginative and a vision, that’s what keeps Greater Manchester moving forwards. We have absolute clarity in what we’re trying to achieve and that prosperity will be spread around. We are the living lab for the rest of the UK and the place to make things happen.”
All eyes were on Salford as leading figures from Salford City Council, MediaCityUK and the University of Salford, discussed the next chapter for the city. Following over £3.1bn of private sector investment over the last decade, Salford has ambitious plans for growth delivering over 40,000 new homes and new jobs by 2040. This session presented an opportunity for Salford City Council to discuss their successful partnerships in delivering the next phase of MediaCityUK and Salford Crescent among other huge regeneration projects.
Tom Stannard Chief Executive of Salford City Council said “In Salford, we’re on a mission which cuts across the public and private sector. The momentum we now see for Salford’s next chapter is building on our success story, it’s our partnerships that are helping us along the way. While Stephen Wild, Managing Director of Media City added “If you haven’t been to Salford in the last 10 or 15 years, you need to go now. It’s a place people want to be, a place people want to build a career. We’re a long way from finishing yet.”
In a private session, welcomed by Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Combined Authority, representatives from Greater Manchester, were joined by active developers and partners. It’s hoped that the introductions made in this session will aid investment and regeneration across the city region, creating new opportunities for both commercial and residential development.
To end the day, delegates were invited to the Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region Pavillion for a regional leadership debate. Leader of Manchester City Council, Bev Craig, was joined in conversation by Chief Executive of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Katherine Fairclough and Leader of Leeds City Council James Lewis. In a debate hosted by Chief Executive of Downtown in Business, Frank McKenna the leaders discussed what levelling up really means, how devolved powers would help city regions with a particular focus on skills and transport as well as the role of culture in placemaking.
When discussing Manchester, Councillor Bev Craig said; “We always talk about Manchester City Centre and its transformational change, but for me, it still has room for growth and we can translate that growth to places that would be towns within Manchester, like Wythenshawe. For me, it’s about not losing sight of the priorities and benefits that sit behind place-based ambitions. It’s about seeing what people want for their future and working out how we can deliver it.”
Following the debate, a drinks reception was held at the Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region Pavilion to provide an opportunity for networking, and introductions, as well as to celebrate the exciting rate of development across the North West.
Greater Manchester had a very productive first day at UKREiiF, with representatives from across the city-region coming together to discuss investment and opportunities which pave an exciting future for Greater Manchester and all of its residents. From showcasing the future of Wigan and Salford to discussing how Greater Manchester plans to level up, the first day of UKREiiF has been a unique opportunity to celebrate a prosperous and exciting future for our city region.
The first talk of the day from Greater Manchester was called “Holistic Regeneration: Creating Thriving Places for People and Nature”. For the panel discussion, Caroline Simpson, Chief Executive of Stockport Council was joined by Stephen Peacock Executive Director of Growth and Regeneration at Bristol City Council and Mike Palin, Executive Director of Markets, Partners and Places for Homes England among others. As we recover from the pandemic, we have a real opportunity to reinvigorate the world around us and create community-led developments, tailored to people and places.
Caroline Simpson said “It’s catalytic projects that really evidence that a place is on the move and is going somewhere like just outside of Stockport Station, that then builds confidence for other things to happen. Getting that spirit and ambition of the commercial sector gets people hooked in”
Lord Bob Kerslake, Chair of Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation joined a panel discussing how to reinvigorate town centres through investment and development. For “UK High Streets – How Do We Maintain Pace With Reimagining Place?” Lord Bob was joined by, Tony Reeves, Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council, Dr Angela Brockbank, Director of Thirteen Housing Group and Pat Ritchie CBE, Chair of Government Property Agency. With £1bn of Towns Fund being distributed amongst 45 locations and £830m worth of Future High Streets Funding being made available to various regeneration hungry places, discussing the future of the UK High Street seems more necessary than ever.
On the introduction of Stockport’s Mayoral Development Corporation Sir Bob Kerslake said “Stockport MDC has a board of independent expert advisors who guide the work, there are no specific powers just a small team with sponsorship from the Mayor that links town and city, and it works.”
There was also a discussion around how Combined Authorities can drive forward levelling up. Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Eamonn Boylan was joined by leaders of other local combined authorities to discuss inclusive growth covering transport, health and wellbeing, green skills and the role of research and development.
Speaking at the event Eamonn Boylan said “In Greater Manchester, we are doing a lot of work around public service reform. Someone in one of our wealthy suburbs has a greater life expectancy than someone born on the same day in a poorer suburb and that’s something that needs to change. The public services we have, need to deliver the services our people need. Like many cities, many young people in the suburbs look at the gleaming towers of the city centre and think ‘that has nothing to do with me’ and that’s something that needs to change”.
The Stockport Mayoral Development Corporation unveiled ambitious plans for their new Stockport 8 development, a 1,200 home, walkable neighbourhood with retail outlets, offices and leisure space. To announce the project and launch the search for a development partner Lord Bob Kerslake, Chair of the Stockport Mayoral Development was joined by Caroline Simpson, Chief Executive of Stockport Council, Adam White, Senior Director of UK Development Advisory at CBRE and Tim Heatly Co-Founder of Capital & Centric. They discussed creating a sustainable community and the importance of Stockport’s ambition as a town.
Caroline Simpson, Chief Executive of Stockport Council said “The people of Stockport are really energised about what’s happening. There’s a real sense of nostalgia in our town centre that brings with it a sense of pride and a community alongside. Our community want to see the town centre work again and be revitalised.”
Adam White, senior director of UK development advisory at CBRE and an advisor on the Stockport 8 scheme said: “The scheme benefits from its scale, strong, cross-party, local leadership, and its connectivity. It has the potential to outperform its local and regional peers and bridge the gap to some really exciting schemes.”
Also at UKREiiF City Mayor of Salford City Council, Paul Dennett joined home builders and policymakers to discuss the housing crisis. In “Accelerating the Delivery of High Quality and Affordable Homes” the panel debated how to improve the availability of affordable homes, remove the stigma around social housing and how to tackle the homelessness crisis.
Paul Dennett, City Mayor of Salford City Council stated “In Greater Manchester have a strategy to create 50,000 affordable homes. 30,000 of which will be local authority, social housing and all will be carbon neutral. We can’t deliver that without developers on board. We’re committed to delivering community-led housing and placemaking.
“The next six months will be challenging for local government. The cost-of-living crisis is increasing demand for services and financial uncertainty on how local government will be funded is a real concern. If the Government don’t work with us, it could destabilise and exacerbate the housing crisis What would be great is to get real certainty so that we can get on with the job in hand.”
Greater Manchester speakers have offered great insights throughout UKREiiF and it’s clear that the city-region remains ambitious, forward-thinking, and passionate about creating a fairer, greener, and more prosperous city-region. UKREiiF has allowed our councils and developers to meet with other innovators, hopefully creating the foundations for exciting things to come across Greater Manchester.