The sun shone, the 7,000 delegates and thousands more attending fringe events were back in Leeds to network, attend panels and seminars and discuss many topics including levelling-Up, net zero, innovation, social value along with a new stand, sponsored by Mott McDonald, dedicated to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and a youth pavilion.
UKREiiF 2023 was used as a platform by the public sector to reveal major breakthroughs, Wirral announcing it’s acquisition of 585,000 sq ft of retail space across The Pyramids and The Grange from Mars Pension Fund, opening the doors for future phases of town centre regeneration.
Stockport announced ECF as their funding partner for the £250m walkable neighbourhood Stockport 8, that will see the creation of 1,200 new homes as well as shops, offices and leisure space on eight acres of land next to Stockport Viaduct.
Birmingham City Council, in partnership with Bruntwood SciTech and Aston University announced plans for Birmingham Innovation Quarter, a 49 acre site around the university’s campus and neighbouring Innovation Birmingham Campus.
So while there are those with some scepticism around hearing the same promises and talk around the importance of public and private sector partnership it appears there are those starting to put their money where their mouth is.
Transport was another big topic, but with less resolution than there appeared to be for the public, private partnerships to drive regeneration. The failing train network in the north of England is well documented, with most recently TransPennine losing it’s franchise over continuous cancellations. The operator said it had been badly affected by drivers who are members of the Aslef union no longer volunteering to work paid overtime shifts.
As a regular commuter between our Leeds and Manchester studios I have felt the frustrations first hand, and whilst technology has helped, the connectivity between these two cites and further afield simply has to be much better if our cities are to continue to grow.
Turning to the event format itself, which had grown to 150 exhibitors, over 250 local authorities and 750 plus developers. And the stands and pavilions had all upped their game, our clients Caddick Group, and Moda again hosted the impressive Places for Life Pavilion that launched the UKREiiF Pavilion programme focussed on taking the industry’s ESG agenda to the next level.
Moda, working with UKREiiF ran an initiative to enable more than 5,000 carbon-free journeys to the UK’s biggest property event by raising £30,000 with the Moda Bar.
Located in the Food and Drink Avenue, the Moda Bar allowed people travelling to the event from the UK to add a contribution to the cost of their drinks to be spent directly on offsetting carbon emissions.
So there are many positives to take from UKREiiF and the support from exhibitors and delegates only seems to be growing. It’s good to see such a well attended event for the UK real estate sector in the UK.
With the waterside setting and the sun shinning you could almost convince yourself you were in Cannes.