A fantastic first day at MIPIM; the UKR Place Live Stand is looking smashing, complete with purple carpet (and Ross Sturley in matching purple shirt, shows commitment!). We got off to a flying start with a visit from Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London who seemed to have scooped the Prime Minister of Rwanda and the Mayor of Cannes (who remembered me from MAPIC!) into his entourage. So we got three for the price of one, and all enjoyed the whisky tasting, courtesy of Edinburgh City Council.
We had a debate on the stand about Local Enterprise Partnerships, chaired by Adam Branson of R&R and with Alex King, Deputy Leader of Kent County Council giving us a real working example of an emerging LEP. I am fortunate to share a platform with the likes of Alex at MIPIM; we had a lively discussion about the fortunes of LEPs in the UK. And we agreed there would be winners and losers.
Visited the London Stand and was treated to a lovely sushi lunch by GE, Arup and Skanska on the terrace of the London Stand; nice to catch up on the serious infrastructure projects that this collaborative team has got underway in the UK.
This set me up nicely for our debate on the UKR Place Live Stand in the afternoon on TIF (Tax Increment Finance) in Operation, chaired by Richard Garlick of R&R; a joy to be speaking with Jonathan Guthrie of Edinburgh City Council who was pretty candid about how they got their £84m TIF away for Leith waterfront and its enabling road.
What was most encouraging was the report of how much investor confidence had been imbued in Edinburgh by this bold move on the part of a responsive local authority (Jonathan has back to back meetings with investors for the rest of the week). All in all, an excellent object lesson in how regeneration practitioners must seize the day and grasp any instrument that comes their way in order to improve the fortunes of their locality. Edinburgh is to be congratulated on this inspirational intervention and if you go onto their website you can download the Business Case and share the good practice. This single session may have repaid the cost of the MIPIM delegate’s pass for one participant in the debate, who now has a cast iron case study to give to his client in a northern UK city which will, for now at least, remain nameless.
It may of course, all spill out tomorrow in the main conference session “Making Regeneration Happen in the UK”…