/ News / Lancashire Makes Its Mark At MIPIM

Ministers, developers and investors line up to hear from the ‘We Are Lancashire’ consortium at international property expo in London

Lancashire’s debut at MIPIM UK has been hailed great success with hundreds of delegates, drawn from across the property and investment world, visiting the ‘We Are Lancashire’ exhibition stand to find out more about the county’s fast growing developer, employer and investor opportunities.

This was the first time Lancashire has been represented as a unified consortium geographically, commercially and economically. Partners making up the We Are Lancashire delegation included The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, Lancashire County Council, Marketing Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen Council, Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Economic Development Company, Burnley Borough Council, Chorley Council, Preston City Council, South Ribble Borough Council and West Lancashire Borough Council. These were joined by a number of private sector partners, including developers Carillion and Eric Wright Group, and international property agents Colliers.

Over the three-day international Expo (October 19-21), hosted at London’s Olympia, government ministers and senior policy makers also met with We Are Lancashire representatives. They included Greg Hands (Minister of State in the Department for International Trade), Andrew Jones (Under Secretary of State for Transport) and Andrew Percy (Minister for the Northern Powerhouse).

Many of the discussions with Ministers, investors and developers were focussed around Lancashire’s four Enterprise Zone sites which have recently been combined to create the Lancashire Advanced Manufacturing and Energy Cluster.

Other key benefits of investing in Lancashire being highlighted included opportunities being generated by the City Deal for Preston and South Ribble, and the Lancashire Growth Deal. These and other investments have already kicked started the construction of thousands of new homes, major transport infrastructure projects and swathes of new commercial and employment land throughout the county.

We are Lancashire also hosted a special panel, Powerhouse Progress Lancashire, chaired by Chief Executive at Downtown in Business, Frank McKenna.

An audience of around 50 delegates heard from panellists including Karen Hirst, Director, Maple Grove Developments, Guy Gilfillan, Director, Colliers International and Martin Kelly Director of Economic Development at Lancashire County Council. Their discussions focussed on the considerable opportunities in Lancashire driven by a new confidence and vision for the county, including its key role within the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

Lancashire Enterprise Partnership board member and Chair of UCLan David Taylor, who also participated in the panel discussion, praised the unity of the Lancashire partners. He told delegates that the Lancashire offer is “a powerful complement to that of its more urban neighbours” but that Lancashire is “focusing on the new industries and advanced manufacturing which makes Lancashire distinctive from those cities.”

Taylor, the former CEO of English Partnerships and special adviser to Lord Prescott, added that he had long experience of working with both Manchester and Liverpool at previous MIPIM property conventions in both France and the UK. He said: “The Lancashire partners have recently started to work together, and in my experience it’s only by working together that you begin to get to know each other and manage the political and geographical differences. We have a great mix; the infrastructure, the quality of life and industries which have survived two or three recessions. We have our industries thriving where other places have lost their reason to be.”

Edwin Booth, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership said: “To see the whole of Lancashire pull together, and make a passionate and confident economic case for the county to government ministers and international investors alike, was a real first. The response to the We Are Lancashire proposition, including the new Advanced Manufacturing and Energy cluster, was also extremely positive and we definitely made a big impression.

“However we know that we are fiercely competing with other UK regions for the many of the same investment opportunities, so the next stage is to use the momentum from our successful MIPIM debut to convert investor interest into genuine prospects.”

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