Carl Potter, Senior Director, Midlands
Leading the horse to water.
"Creating an environment where investment into our regional cities can flourish.
At a simple level the extent of investment will reflect the market’s appetite for risk and return. As the property markets recovered ( not least consequential on the Government’s quantative easing programme ) within the UK, the spread of investment began to move from arguably over-priced London assets, which in the market’s mind reflects a very low risk environment, to those areas considered prime but outside of London.
So what is it that makes investor’s choose those locations in which to invest, and thereby expose themselves to risk as they chase a higher return? If you look at the examples of Birmingham and Manchester, both cities have now clearly set themselves aside as the second tier of cities within the UK. Whilst they are not the largest of the UK’s Core Cities, they are certainly able to argue that they are currently the strongest. They have excellent higher education establishments with a high level of graduate retention, a good track record in attracting added value occupational inward investment (Slater Gordon, Deutschebank, HSBC etc ) and a level of continuing institutional and direct foreign investment that other cities envy.
This is partly how a city sets out its stall and tells it’s story – but investors tend to work on hard facts and hence recognising what is good about your city (and telling everyone about it) at the same time as mending what is less positive is crucial - New Street Station in Birmingham springs to mind and of course Bristol City are now deep in the throes of seeking to ensure that Temple Meads provides a springboard for rather than a reason against. And as has already been stressed, infrastructure is a basic strand of any need.
Infrastructure leads to people, people lead to occupiers, and occupiers lead to investment.”