The global property show MIPIM was a great opportunity to present some of the thinking around Bristol Temple Quarter, and to hear from other cities in the UK and Europe about how their plans are developing and being communicated. The newly-formed Bristol+Bath Inward Investment team was joined by experts from a wide range of sectors include Nick Sturge – leading on The Engine Shed, residents such as Gary Soloman from Burges Salmon, and property experts in Jeremy Richards from JLL, and David Mace from GVA.
My own thinking was informed by a wide range of people from Boris Johnson to Tom Riordan, CEO of Leeds Council and Michael Ansah, Executive Director for property at Dell.
It’s clear that we have a quality proposition in Bristol & Bath – world-leading media, technology and engineering as well as great business services, and that’s absolutely vital.
Investors are also looking for a great talent-pool – also a strength here – and a vibrancy that comes from a youthful city. Multinationals are focussed on growth markets – Russia, China, Africa and will place business there to be culturally close to customers, so a factor is the rate that the UK grows, and how this reflects in different regions.
I also had a great sense of collaboration amongst the UK cities – London is clearly the leader, and perceived internationally as “the UK”, but the alignment of the core cities – Manchester, Leeds, Bristol etc. – and the devolution of power inherent in the Heseltine Report can mean the end of the “zero sum game” where a benefit to one location is detrimental to the others.
MIPIM is the place for briefings and contacts – seeing how Manchester promotes itself, hearing how Leeds is delivering a 13,500 seat arena this summer (opened with a Bruce Springsteen concert), and working through issues with the team from Birmingham’s city-centre Enterprise Zone provides a unique and intense experience.
It’s great that the power to deliver is heading to the cities – the understanding of a place helps joint projects between public and private sectors that can deliver benefits in a long term – in the words of Tom Riordan “We can make our own weather” – and the outlook is definitely sunny around here!