Attracting Investment into UK Cities
With the government putting core cities at the heart of the UK’s growth agenda, what can regional leaders do to capitalise? Where will investment come from? What role does infrastructure have to play? Should they compete or cooperate? And is it more important they connect with each rather than with London?
Chaired by: Damian Wild
Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive, Manchester City Council , Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, Martin Farrington, Director of City Development, Leeds City Council Joanna Averley, Director – Planning, Development and Regeneration, GVA
Sponsor : Estates Gazette, In Association with GVA and UK Core Cities David Marks, Co-Managing Partner, Brockton Capital LLP
“UK commercial real estate bringing in 11% return per annum”
David Marks from Brockton Capital kicked off this panel discussion with a compelling presentation of the hard facts supporting the growing attractiveness in UK regional cities. David Marks says, “It’s clear that the asset class is back, with UK commercial real estate bringing in 11% return per annum.” He also made a point in stating that UK cities are far more attractive today than in the past- with better leaders, better manufacturing and better city centres.
That being said, David Marks pointed out the “four elephants in the room”:
1.QE ZIRP 2. Scotland 3.EU Referendum 4. Relationship with London
Joanne Averley, Director of Bilfinger GVA, reminds us all that there are growing opportunities in the core UK cities – not only because of high living costs in London, but by just studying the fantastic new developments in these areas. She stresses that it’s a long term game -and no easy task – but to attract investors, the important thing our cities can do is providing a distinctive offer. That includes finding solutions that are right for your city – not necessarily duplicating models from existing capital cities.
The cities on the panel, including Leeds, Cardiff, Manchester, Nottingham and Newcastle, all seemed to echo one another, arguing that interest will grow due to developing metro and train circuits, providing efficient connectivity with London and European cities. Furthermore, it goes without saying, that with the growing housing crisis and exploding costs in London will ultimately prompt interest in UK regions. The challenges were the same as well -further work on driving private and public collaboration is the key to fostering further growth and eventual investment.
Ken Poole says investors are seeing potential bargains and growth in Cardiff – setting it to become one of the leading UK core cities over the next 5-7 years. Martin Farrington says Leeds is focused on a devolution deal based on existing strengths and adding value. Newcastle’s Pat Richie pushes for creating new labour markets across the north with a good housing offer that could compete with London. David Bishop of Nottingham City Council cites a need for a combination of talent, value, and quality of life – not to mention the connectivity with the rest of Europe. Sir Howard Bernstein spoke of devolution, and that cities need a place based approach for spending and a return on incentives. He also encourages a continued increase in collaboration between regions.
Image: Images & Co / Y Piriou