Heavy snow has caused a lot of disruption in recent weeks, but the blizzard that affected Sheffield City Region on Thursday last week did not stop a large gathering from the public and private sectors coming together for the LEP’s Business Conference.
As the board’s newest member, having joined in January this year, I was impressed with the scale of business backing from right across the City Region for the work of the LEP.
Businesses are clearly keen to get behind the LEP’s vision to grow the economy and create 6,000 new businesses and 70,000 new jobs.
There is a huge level of interest and determination from business leaders and our nine local authority partners to be part of what the LEP is trying to achieve.
This positive attitude and spirit of collaboration is clearly demonstrated by the delegation we are sending to MIPIM.
MIPIM is the world’s foremost property and real estate event and it takes place every year in France. This is the place where the biggest players in property go to find out about where they should invest.
A major part of the LEP’s plans to grow and strengthen our economy is focused on getting new investors interested and excited about what Sheffield City Region can offer.
The importance of this part of the LEP’s work was recognised by the private sector board almost as soon as the LEP board was established. The Sheffield City Region was one of the first areas to establish a central inward investment team.
The team is tasked with generating real investment leads for local authorities, putting them in touch with people from around the world who are interested in making investments.
I’m a partner at Nabarro, which is an international law firm with offices in Sheffield, as well as London, Manchester, Brussels, Dubai and Singapore. For our clients it is critically important that we have up-to-date research about markets, sectors and trends.
At Nabarro, we regularly undertake market research which gives us the hard, reliable facts that our clients rely on. Recently we interviewed 250 professionals from the property sector and their responses revealed a positive shift in attitude towards UK real estate.
These responses were from key players in the property sector whose combined portfolios are worth more than £150bn. 86 per cent of our respondents said that regional property would rise in attractiveness over the next two years.
This is no surprise as we have watched the London market overheating in recent years. Sheffield City Region is geographically twice the size of London and our property offer will be refreshing to any investor who has been limited by the few choices and made to compromise as a result of the high prices in the capital.
These same respondents ranked Sheffield among the top five places to watch in the UK. To read the report visit nabarro.com/a-new-outlook-for-uk-real-estate.
These investors won’t have to look far for some recent cases of big investments in the Sheffield City Region. For example, the Prime Minister recently announced a £400m US investment in the Peak Resort, which will see a major leisure attraction developed near Chesterfield.
A Chinese developer recently revealed plans to create 400 jobs in Sheffield in a £65m investment.
Work is underway on the University of Sheffield’s Factory 2050, which will build a £43m centre of excellence for advanced manufacturing. South Korean boiler manufacturer KD Navien recently chose Rotherham to be its UK headquarters, creating up to 100 jobs.
And plans are already in place to build the National High Speed Rail College in Doncaster, which will make this historic rail town an academic centre for the next generation of rail engineers.
At last year’s event, the private sector recognised that we could have a bigger presence and a stronger pitch at MIPIM if we joined forces with Leeds City Region.
Leeds and Sheffield City Regions are natural partners for an event like this because, alongside Manchester, we are the preeminent economic forces in the Northern Powerhouse.
At MIPIM we’ll be letting investors know how our plans to be better connected to one another makes Sheffield City Region and the North an even more compelling investment choice.
Some of the most powerful people in property now see the value proposition of the UK regions and Sheffield City Region is at the very heart of this. Many of these top decision makers will be at MIPIM, which is why local leaders in the Sheffield City Region will be there too.