Downtown in Business hosted a roundtable event at Bloc by Bruntwood works in Manchester this week, in an event sponsored by civil and structural engineers, Sutcliffe.
The event entitled ‘Northern Power Towns Roundtable lunch’ was chaired by DIB director Chris McKenna who was joined by Chief Executive of Warrington Borough Council, Steve Broomhead and COO of West Lancashire Borough Council, Jacqui Sinnott-Lacey.
The panel covered a number of topics around how the Covid pandemic raised issues within towns, such as the regeneration of towns, with lots within the locality needing investment.
The event key speakers were Steve Broomhead and Jacqui Sinnott-Lacey, who both spoke briefly about their respective boroughs and took a number of questions from attendees.
Jacqui discussed how we have seen an increase in the best of businesses and communities coming together since the pandemic hit over 18 months ago, and as a result, there is a focus in terms of decisions, meaning they can be mobilised quicker.
Steve commented that although towns are improving, councils turnaround time on decision making causes somewhat of an issue at times. Warrington Borough council are currently working alongside Peel on some of their projects and hope to see this developing towns in the long run.
The topic of jobs was discussed around the table with many vacancies becoming apparent at the moment, however, overall support was deemed needed to help businesses to rebuild post-pandemic to adapt for new staff. There has been a marked change in people changing career from what they were doing prior to the pandemic due to a change in priorities and perspective for people, mostly in terms of being able to work remotely or being able to go back to work in an office setting, with many people now choosing to work remotely.
The discussion then turned to that of net-zero carbon and transport in and out of cities – this discussion was lead by a statement from Andy McIntyre (VSI Executive Education) who stated ‘Transport is now so incredible, it is unnecessary to drive into the city centre. There has been a gargantuan financial sting to councils with the state of the roads, therefore people should be utilising local towns over driving into city centres.’ And how in doing this, people can help to reduce carbon emissions and having the correct leadership in the council, this can aid the reduction in net-zero carbon.
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