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A spectacular Morning of Insights and Networking

Attendees had the exclusive opportunity to participate in the latest instalment of the highly regarded 'In Conversation with' series, featuring Shelagh McNerney, Head of Regeneration Eastern Gateway at Manchester City Council.

Downtown in Business brought together professionals from various sectors for an engaging morning of insights and networking on Thursday 25th April 2024.

Attendees had the exclusive opportunity to participate in the latest instalment of the highly regarded ‘In Conversation with’ series, featuring Shelagh McNerney, Head of Regeneration Eastern Gateway at Manchester City Council.

The event, held at the Innside By Melia in Manchester, from 9:30 – 11:30 am, offered attendees a unique breakfast-time networking session and an opportunity to delve into the challenges and future of growth and regeneration in the Manchester City region.

Shelagh McNerney, with over 30 years of experience in development and regeneration priorities, shared her invaluable insights garnered from her extensive work at Manchester City Council.

As a seasoned professional who has collaborated with investors, property experts, developers, planners, architects, artists, and businesses, alongside politicians and diverse residential communities, Shelagh offered a unique perspective on the pressing issues facing the region today. Her position at the heart of regeneration and planning provided attendees with an unparalleled understanding of the region’s development landscape.

Throughout her illustrious career, Shelagh has contributed to think tanks, academic institutions, developers, construction, and architecture companies, providing her with a holistic view of the political and economic context surrounding development and growth in the UK. Drawing upon this wealth of experience, Shelagh empowered attendees with insights into the happenings within the construction and development industry in Greater Manchester, highlighting both challenges and opportunities for growth.

Attendees learned of Shelagh’s passionate belief that building is “the ultimate form of human self-expression,” reflecting her commitment to quality in architecture and socio-economic improvements for communities. Moreover, Shelagh’s dedication to academia, evident through her ongoing studies at the renowned Bartlett School of Architecture, further underscored her commitment to excellence in her field.

She explained how her top two priorities in her current role are to oversee the successful regeneration of Ancoats where up to 15000 new homes could be built and to restart and replan for the development of Holt Town in East Manchester where up to 4500 new homes could be built, many of them affordbale.

She explained how regeneration isn’t always as simple as setting up a project, it takes massive organisation of all the resources availbale going in to various development schemes. Renegeration projects are of course expensive and Shelagh believes there still needs to be a public sector intervention when it comes to development.

Perhaps the most valauble point Shelaugh made was how cities can benefit from looking towards their own relationships and who they’ve got on the ground. She explained: “There isn’t one size fits all when it comes to regeneration, who’ve you got that cares about your place, that’s whp you bring round the table”.

Other topics discussed included how planning has changed in recent years, with a wellness agenda, health and green spaces starting to become more of a prioroty, as well as risk vs reward when it comes to planning.

Shelagh said: “It’s always fascinating and so enlightening to spend time in small group discussions like this getting to grips with the issues around regeneration. I really enjoyed the format, it was a great event and great to meet such a diverse group of business people from different backgrounds”

The benefits of attending the event were manifold. Participants had the opportunity to network with key figures in the Greater Manchester business world and the chance to forge meaningful connections and collaborations.

Downtown Chief Executive Frank McKenna said: “We’re delighted Shelagh could join us to share her insights, we hope our members enjoyed this fantastic opportunity to hear from someone who is on the front line of regeneration projects and who has insider knowledge on the future development of the Manchester City region.”

Events like this play a crucial role in sparking meaningful dialogue around place making and development, forging connections that can boost growth and shaping the future of the region”

For more information about upcoming DIB events contact

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