County council commits cash to showcase Lancashire at property festival
Lancashire will be represented at one of the world’s leading property festivals next year, after plans to promote the county at this year’s event were thwarted by the coronavirus outbreak.
Representatives of the region had been hoping 2020 would be the county’s most successful year yet at the MIPIM show, which was due to be held in Cannes back in March.
Twelve months earlier, Lancashire had taken to the global property and investment stage on its own for the first time, after previously having shared space at the exhibition with Greater Manchester.
The county hosted its own dedicated events, during which discussions about potential investment opportunities in Lancashire were held with more than a hundred delegates.
The plan was for the county to build on the identity it had forged in 2019 and leave the Greater Manchester delegation entirely this year, striking out on its own after receiving increased backing for the event from the private sector.
Lancashire County Council’s cabinet has now pledged to invest £83,000 in ensuring that similar plans can be revived for next year’s four-day gathering, provided any coronavirus restrictions in place at the time permit it to go ahead.
Cabinet member for economic development, Michael Green, told a meeting of colleagues that the current crisis only increased the need for the county to be represented at MIPIM and similar exhibitions.
“Such events [are] critical to all regions across the UK in bringing places and investors together and I feel it’s vital that Lancashire has a presence at [them].
“As we’re moving to recovery after Covid, it will be more important than ever – as we saw after the recession in 2008, those areas that were promoting themselves gathered momentum and generated growth far more quickly than those that weren’t doing so,” County Cllr Green said.
The authority’s financial commitment, which will reduce to £60,000 in future years, comes after the region’s growth body, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), decided to move its event investment “in a different direction”, according to county council cabinet papers. However, it was noted that the LEP was still supportive of the delegation and remained open to investing in MIPIM attendance again in the future.
Cabinet members were told that private sector investment for the Lancashire contingent was still expected next year, but that it was currently impossible to quantify because of uncertainty about the level of the economic shock inflicted as a result of the pandemic.
Labour opposition group leader Azhar Ali backed County Hall’s financial commitment to the gathering.
“It’s essential that Lancashire is at the heart of it. I know in the past that we worked through Greater Manchester, but I think going it alone…is the way forward,” he said.