Supporting Northern culture and heritage can provide economic boost, conference told
During a session on the topic of innovation, Lucinda Yeadon, social impact manager at CEG, said it is vital to think about the prospective long-term benefits of planned development work. “We’ve got two brownfield sites that both have neighbourhoods right next door to them that are very deprived, she said. It is our responsibility to ensure what we are doing benefits these people and we have to take that very seriously. That’s investing in jobs and skills, apprenticeships, opportunities, reaching out to the community and working with them.”
CEG, who are property developers,were responsible for the transformation of Kirkstall Forge from a disused forgery to a hub for local business in the area. They are also working on the development of Temple Works, a former flax mill based in Holbeck. Ms Yeadon added: “It’s about how to take the places which were once the birthplace of innovation and grasp that and turn that into the next birthplace of innovation.”
Simon Hughes, community and siting director at Nuclear Waste Services, agreed that it is important to work with the local community, however his company struggles due to the lack of appropriate resources.
He said: “One of our major pledges is that we will always procure locally and will employ locally wherever we possibly can.
"We are not doing brilliantly at that but we are getting there. We rely on big supply chain providers.
"The usual big five or six you’d expect to see working on big infrastructure and they are almost exclusively based in the south. I tend to find myself heading more to Birmingham and London than Manchester and Bradford.”
Nuclear Waste Services is responsible for the disposal of nuclear waste in the UK and their sites have the ability to create thousands of jobs in the area.
It is estimated that an underground nuclear waste disposal site can create up to 4,000 jobs within the first 25 years of operation in an area.
Mr Hughes added: “It’s difficult to see how we would make that change without some kind of investment to create the centre of mass that then allows and encourages the other associated industries [to the area].”
In a separate session the importance of North’s culture in its economic and social growth was discussed in an interactive session at the conference. CEO of Bradford Literature Festival Syima Aslam MBE said: “Engaging with people and using culture to raise their aspirations is critical to have a long-term economic impact.
“But the reality is that arts and culture are being stripped out of the curriculum, and they are not attaching value to these things.
"Culture is the fabric of our country, and it is how we engage and communicate with our communities. It represents everyone.”
Catherine Dewar, regional director at Historic England, said: “Heritage and culture varies so much across the north and it needs to be celebrated.
"Heritage and culture are vital to economic growth, tourism, and health and wellbeing.
“We have never been able to put a number on the importance of culture, so we have been working with the Department of Culture, Media, and Sport and with our colleagues at the Art Council to develop a heritage and culture capital.
"We aim to have publicly available statistics that will allow us to articulate the value of heritage and culture so that it can be included in the policy-making decisions in the future.”
Kamran Rashid, CEO of Impact Hub Bradford, said: “No one visits York to go see the new office building. They go to visit destinations based on heritage buildings.
"Heritage buildings have lasted and will last for a long time, while modern buildings have a shelf life. We might not see that impact now, but our children will.
“If we do not have arts, heritage, or culture sector in a city, people will come to the city, work, earn money, and spend it elsewhere. What we need in the city is things for people to do and engage with as well as places to work. Culture and heritage play an important role in the way our communities engage with the economy.”