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Downtown in Business Hosts Enlightening CIH Housing Association Forum Breakfast Event

Downtown in Business Manchester, in collaboration with Sutcliffe Engineering, hosted an exclusive breakfast event on Tuesday, at Neo in Manchester. The event brought together key players from the property development, engineering, and housing sectors for a breakfast of insightful discussions surrounding the most important topics at the CIH Housing Association 'Housing 2024' Conference.

Downtown in Business, in partnership with Sutcliffe, hosted an exclusive breakfast event on Tuesday 25th June at Neo, a prestigious office and events space in Manchester City Centre.

The event, which marked Sutcliffe and Downtown’s contributions to the CIH Housing Association ‘Housing 2024’ Conference, brought together Downtown members and industry experts and key players from the property development, engineering, and housing sectors for a morning of insightful discussions and of course networking opportunities.

Priding itself on being ‘The only place the whole UK housing sector comes together every year’.  The Housing Conference is held annually in Manchester with the aim of raising the voice of the housing and wider living sector, with creating thriving communities at the heart of its mission.

The Conference aims to bring together key players and lobby the government to place the delivery of high-quality, accessible, affordable and sustainable housing at the heart of its long-term plans for the UK.

This exclusive breakfast event was hosted with the aim of giving DIB members and Sutcliffe associates an opportunity to discuss the key issues and changes happening in the field in the run up to the conference and provide an opportunity for individuals and businesses to network.

Guests were treated to a warm welcome and sumptuous breakfast spread before it was time to delve into discussions about the future of the housing industry.

Frank Mckenna, CEO of Downtown in Business, introduced a panel of local government and property developer representatives who led the discussions on key issues affecting the housing sector.

Bev Craig of Manchester City Council, John Searle of Salford City Council and Stuart Rogers of Muse Places joined us to delve into various topics, including the challenges and opportunities facing the housing industry, the importance of collaboration and innovation, and the role of housing in driving economic growth and community development.

Bev Craig shared her insights from a local government perspective, explaining some of the extensive work that goes on behind the scenes and how an incoming government might go about carrying out some of their plans for housing and regeneration.

She pointed out the need for the government to have an up-to-date local plan for different areas understanding variances and how recognising the power of place and the need for the suburbs to do as well as the city centre to foster civic identity and pride is important.

She emphasised the importance of having an economic plan for the country at large explaining how this is fundamental to turning round GDP. Regeneration isn’t just about a need for homes but also creating jobs and building communities.

She explained how, what businesses need to thrive often also helps citizens and how Local governments forming relationships with businesses can work to everyone’s advantage as it’s not just the public sector that knows everything about regeneration and growth.

Manchester, which prides itself on being a child-friendly city, is investing in young people, trying to reach the 43% of children still living in poverty by tackling social exclusion, helping young people into jobs through regeneration and helping the ‘covid-generation’ catch up. 

“It’s not just about putting a few houses up, reform has to come from a number of different places,” Bev explained, “You can build homes, but you need to build communities, you need to make sure the public transport is there, the schools are ready to go, and I think that’s what’s exciting.”

Stewart Rodgers, Director of Project management at Muse, reiterated Bev’s point about the public and private sectors working together on regeneration projects, giving some insights into Muse’s effective relationship with Salford City Council and how they have been working together on Salford crescent and the Salford innovation district saying, “It’s about having honest conversations with people – you might disagree but if you have a vision of where you want to be in 10 years you can work together”.

He also made some important points about government planning and how the Government and public sector needs to invest early to prove investment works and how since councils are being stripped of a lot of funding, they often don’t have the resources to develop at pace and the next government needs to introduce more behind the scenes resources. 

Of the breakfast event he said: “This was a truly great way to kick off the Housing Conference, sharing the panel with two fantastic local authority partners!”

Finally, John Searle of Salford city council shared his thoughts, echoing Stuart’s sentiments that there is a lot of risk taking to get developments like Salford going but how Salford being in the top 10 for population growth and new homes helps prove that working together can pay off in the long run.

John commented; “Businesses and the population at large don’t care about local authorities and regions all they see is what’s around them.”

He pointed out that just a few years ago it wouldn’t have been feasible to see Manchester and Salford working together and having conversations around developments and while Salford council is still somewhat strapped for funds like many others, ambition is still high for the future.

Downtown CEO Frank McKenna said: “We hope our members found this event as motivating and enlightening as we did, thank you to our fantastic speakers for sharing their valuable insights and to Sutcliffe Engineering for collaborating with us to host this fantastic breakfast. We are committed to supporting the growth and development of the housing sector, and events like this serve as an important platform for driving positive change and innovation within the industry. We hope attendees left feeling inspired and energized!”

For more information about upcoming event visit

For further information on Downtown in Business and how you can join email

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