BCSC to return to Manchester

The British Council of Shopping Centres has announced that it will bring its annual retail conference back to Manchester in 2015, despite expectations that London would host the event for a third year.

The influential retail property gathering has been at London Olympia for the past two years.

Former chief executive Michael Green said that London was the frontrunner for 2015 when interviewed by Place North West at BCSC last year.

Green said: "We are a national organisation, and for 20 years we never came to London. It felt like the right time for the market, the appetite was there, and with our desire to become more international the move made sense." However, at the time he reiterated that "BCSC is still all about the regions. But it is about finding the right location, to support doing deals, networking, learning, and of course socialising."

Green left the chief executive role at the end of 2014. The BCSC executive team is currently being led by Edward Cooke, director of policy and public affairs and David Atkins, the 2015 president, while the recruitment process for a new chief executive is underway.

During BCSC 2014, many attendees criticised the decision to host what had traditionally been a regional event in London, and said that the social aspect had been affected by the cost of hiring venues in the capital.

BCSC was held in Liverpool in 2012 and Manchester in 2011.

A BCSC spokesman said: "In response to delegate feedback, we have decided to return Manchester for 2015. But we fully expect the event to look at other regional centres in future years so that the largest retail property event in the UK remains attractive as a leasing event that offers much, much more.

"Manchester is a venue and city which has in the past proved a very successful and popular host destination.

"We are committed to continuing our engagement with all exhibitors, supporters and stakeholders to ensure that BCSC facilitates collaborative planning and delivery, something very much indicative of the spirit of our industry."

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