BPF publishes six simple steps for UK cities to unlock growth and rebalance the UK economy

22 Oct 2015

The leading trade body for the property industry will today publish six recommendations for local Government on how to unlock the economic potential of cities outside London and rebalance the economy.

The series of recommendations will be launched at MIPIM UK and have been produced by the British Property Federation (BPF) following a series of regional roundtables held across the summer in six of the UK’s key City Regions. 

The recommendations are:

  • Infrastructure: Prioritising the upgrading of strategic infrastructure will help provide the catalyst for wider regeneration and leverage wider private sector activity in cities, ensuring further investment and economic growth.
  • Not be caught in constitutional quagmire: Devolution across the country must consider all functions in the whole, from planning and skills to health and design, and not be restrained by issues of constitutional governance, such as elected Mayors. 
  • Vision: Local authorities should work together to form a clear vision of what they want to achieve and play to the individual strengths and offers of their region.
  • Excellence demonstrated through marketing: A strong identity is imperative to attracting inward investment, and areas must market themselves to investors who may not know why an area is worth investing in.
  • Strong leadership: Growth needs a champion, whether an elected mayor or otherwise. Areas need a determined leader who will help drive the shared vision and articulate it clearly to potential investors, providing a focus point with which to engage.
  • Tenure of housing: It is important that areas have the right, as this will attract and retain a new generation of workers, who in turn attract occupiers and investment to an area.

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the BPF, said: “There is a considerable capital, both domestic and international, that is looking to invest beyond London and move into the regions. Combined with the current devolution agenda, this offers the UK’s major cities a unique chance to market themselves and create sustainable growth, and offers central Government a golden opportunity to balance the economy.

 “There is a shared responsibility between local and combined authorities, central government and the private sector to create the environment that will attract investment and unlock growth, and today’s recommendations are designed to support central and local Government as they play their part in creating places where people want to live, work and play.”

ENDS

Quotes on regional growth from industry figures:

Chris Taylor, CEO Hermes Real Estate and Head of Private Markets and BPF President, said: “As a long-term responsible investor, Hermes will look to invest in regions that are able to attract and retain talent, as we see global capital increasingly gravitating to those locations. Ultimately, real estate performance is driven by the end occupiers. Therefore we firmly believe that cities will succeed when they have world class infrastructure (including public realm and accessible residential provision), supported by quality retail, leisure and cultural facilities and strong links to educational establishments. We are particularly attracted to those cities which also exhibit visionary leadership and an ethos of partnership between the public and private sectors.”

David Partridge, Managing Director, Argent, said: “It is clear that city regions across the UK have an enormous appetite for growth, and it is encouraging that they are looking to partner with private capital to encourage regeneration and investment and create great places. There are a number of things that areas can do to make themselves attractive to investors, and these recommendations are an excellent place to start. As exemplified by the regeneration schemes such as Kings Cross, great places are those where people have the amenities to live and work, and world-class infrastructure is the starting point for many large regeneration projects. Against the current backdrop of devolution there is huge scope for growth across the country, and we are excited that so many new opportunities and partnerships with dynamic City Regions will emerge over the next few years.”

Cllr Ian Courts, Deputy Leader, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, said: "Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council welcomes the British Property Federation’s focus on the opportunities and barriers to regional development presented by devolution and evolving national policy. The themes identified by the BPF lie at the heart of our ongoing work to develop the UK Central inward investment proposition and, in particular, our ambition to harness the unrivalled connectivity and investment of HS2 to drive economic growth and opportunity for Solihull and the wider region.

"We echo the BPF’s view that there is a shared responsibility between local and national Government and the real estate sector to think boldly and in a connected way about the potential represented by key regional economic hotspots like UK Central. For Solihull this means maximising our role as a powerhouse of the Midlands economy by realising the opportunities represented by the HS2 interchange to create The Hub ― a major development zone which will attract inward investment, create an internationally competitive business destination and become home to a well-planned and sustainable live-work-play community in the heart of UK Central.