York in talks with international funds in £1bn investment drive

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York Council is in talks with international investors about funding more than £1bn worth of infrastructure improvements in the city, writes Bernard Ginns.

It is understood that officials are hoping to attract investment in brownfield sites, transport hubs and a project to alleviate the congested road system.

The city is bidding for money from central Government, but officials believe that working with international investors will give York a greater degree of self determination.

Officials are speaking to represenatatives from sovereign wealth funds in northern Europe and the Middle East.

Their initial ask is for around £700m, although this could rise to £1.2bn.

The conversations started last year at MIPIM, the annual conference for the world’s property industry which takes place in Cannes on the French Riviera.

City officials are also talking to counterparts in Peterborough to learn lessons from municipal efforts to attract investment from sovereign wealth and pension funds.

Peterborough City Council has agreed a partnership with Hume Capital, a Jersey-based company that will manage the £130m Peterborough Investment Fund on behalf of its UK and international investors.

Officials are promoting York as a good investment option because of its resilient economy and growth potential, based on its strong industrial base, tourism and education sectors, superfast broadband speeds and excellent connections to the capital.

The city’s economy has been so successful that Danny Dorling, the Sheffield University demographer, has described York as a chunk of the affluent South East dropped in Yorkshire.

James Alexander, the Labour leader of York council, wants to build on the success and promote the city as a business-friendly location.