London, MIPIM and the HS2 effect

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As he prepares for a few days in London, DIB boss Frank McKenna looks ahead to property conference MIPIM UK and the impact the government’s HS2 review is having on investors.

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”2/3″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]I’m off to London next week to look at what is happening in and around the excellent property conference MIPIM UK and also to host a couple of Downtown events in the capital, featuring the Liverpool City Region metro mayor Steve Rotheram.

In preparation for the week, I always talk to a few connections based in the Big Smoke to see what is exercising their minds, particularly on issues ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and Midlands Engine’ related.

Downtown’s offer to the London market is very much targeted at those who want to invest or do business north of the Watford gap and it has proved to be an attractive one to a good number of business leaders there.

Brexit aside (which could impact on London more than anywhere else potentially), there biggest concern is the potential cancellation of HS2.

For those who are looking at establishing offices and advising investors, the long-promised, much-improved connectivity from London to the rest of the UK has been seen as a big plus.

The governments more recent decision to ‘review’ the project has already had a negative impact on the plans of some serious investors. As I said in a recent blog here HS2 is not about speed, it’s about capacity and, perhaps even more importantly, it’s about perception.

Until Brexit is resolved, I doubt that progress will be made on infrastructure projects one way or another. Nevertheless, that shouldn’t stop businesses from pressing politicians of all parties on the importance of investing in major infrastructure schemes beyond the boundaries of the South East.

Whatever you think of Boris Johnson PM, his utterances about regional devolution and investment in our great northern and Midland cities has been positive. Its important that he, or his successor, recognizes the essential business case for those words to be turned into positive actions.

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