Midlands UK Forum for Growth: a look back at day one

Date posted: November 25, 2020
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sir john peace

Birmingham’s Health Innovation Campus, the East Midlands Development Corporation, and Derby’s SmartParc were just three of the projects presented for investment on a packed day one of the Midlands UK Forum for Growth.

The virtual event, led by Midlands Engine, has gathered investors from across the world and is showcasing £17.6 billion worth of investment opportunities across housing, connectivity, regeneration, technology and green energy within the Midlands.

During a keynote address, Midlands Engine Chairman Sir John Peace commented:

This event is the very first of its kind in the UK. Over the next three days we will be showcasing to our global audience over 17 billion pounds worth of tangible investment opportunities.

The potential for growth here in the Midlands is vast. And by bringing all of this potential together – into a single platform of international investment opportunities – we are truly pioneering.

With Growth as the theme for day one, there were a number of high-quality schemes put forward for the consideration of over 500 attendees.

One of these projects is the East Midlands Development Corporation, a scheme based around three sites at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, Chetwynd Barracks and the proposed East Midlands Hub HS2 Station. The Development Corporation has the potential to create as many as 4500 housing units and 84,000 jobs whilst generating £4.8 billion for the local economy.

Anthony May, Nottinghamshire County Council Chief Executive said:

We will transform an entire region at a scale of three Olympic Parks. This a real opportunity to put the East Midlands on the global stage at scale.

Another project showcased to investors was the University of Birmingham’s Health Innovation Campus, which will aim to create 10,000 jobs and add £400 million to the city’s economy through the creation of a facility dedicated to translational health and life sciences research.

Derby City Council provided further detail on the forthcoming SmartParc facility which will be built on 140 acres near the city and allow for the clustering of food producers, unlocking 4500 jobs for the local community.

Elsewhere on day one, Birmingham City Council unveiled its draft Design Guide, which will help guide the future of the city as it responds to the challenges of both Covid-19 and a changing climate.

Climate change and the need for a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic featured prominently across a number of discussions, with Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, saying in his address:

Thinking about the green recovery, we’ve got all of the ingredients, we can be optimistic, but it’s going to take incredible business and public sector leadership to find our way through.

There were also presentations from inward investment agencies from Leicester and Leicestershire, and Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, with each highlighting key investment opportunities within their respective areas, and Midlands Connect Director Maria Machancoses who underlined the importance of infrastructure to growth aspirations.

The event was also an opportunity for high-quality discussion, with panels convened on a variety of topics: from repurposing high street and city centres; to making mixed-use developments work and delivering good growth.

Sir John Peace also conducted interviews with Caroline Donaldson, Managing Director of West Coast Partnership Development, Chris Oglesby of Bruntwood, and Bill Hughes of Legal & General.

The entire conference will be made available on-demand after the event via the Midlands UK Forum for Growth website.

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