MIPIM opening drinks C PNW

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram began his MIPIM week by speaking at the Morgan Sindall and Place Reception on Tuesday. Credit: PNW

MIPIM | ‘We’ve smashed it’ says Liverpool City Region mayor

MIPIM coverage sponsored by TogetherSteve Rotheram came to the international property event to promote investment opportunities in the city region. The Liverpool City Region mayor has been well pleased with the results so far.

Last year, MIPIM felt like a Liverpool City Region damage control tour. The message was that things had been bad in the region’s main city, but it was getting better. This year, there’s a pep in LCR’s step and developers are taking note.

Rotheram was positively buzzing on Thursday afternoon. Fresh off a series of conversations with interested developers and investors in Cannes, Rotheram beamed when asked how MIPIM was going so far for the region.

“We’ve smashed it,” he said.

Before, Liverpool had to constantly shout about what it was up to, he said. Now, rather than having to approach people to tell them about the city region, it is Rotheram who is being approached. The message is out there, and the audience is receptive.

That includes minister for investment Lord Dominic Johnson, according to Rotheram.

“We just had the investment minister at our dinner last night who said ‘I specifically believe that the Liverpool City Region is the area for people to start looking at to invest’,” Rotheram recalled.

He grinned. “Not bad, is it!”

The quest for FDI

Time will tell if the good vibes of MIPIM translate to a real uptick in foreign direct investment – one of Rotheram’s main goals in attending the Cannes conference.

Before MIPIM, Rotheram acknowledged that the region’s FDI numbers were “not good”. Liverpool City Region had only 18 new projects from FDI last year according to the Department for International Trade. Greater Manchester, by comparison, had 65. London had 455.

“We want to grow the economy,” Rotheram told Place North West. “That means that we need foreign direct investments and some government support.”

‘Attack brand’ Liverpool

Rotheram had been optimistic about MIPIM from the start. Even before he step foot in Cannes, he had noted that the region’s approach to the conference was “much more confident” this year.

The change in attitude is largely because of the work that has gone on in the city of Liverpool, which is in the middle of changing its placemaking leadership with the appointment of Nuala Gallagher as corporate director of city development and Sophie Bevan as director of development and major projects. Head of planning Samantha Campbell has also been vocal about wanting to work with developers.

“Everyone accepts that there’s been reputational damage, but you put a line in the sand and hopefully we’ll move forward from that,” Rotheram said.

“Now, investors can have absolute confidence that if they’re coming to look at some projects, in Liverpool – specifically Liverpool – for instance, then those projects now will be met with a council that’s geared to helping them deliver it.”

A strong Liverpool is crucial for a strong city region. That is why it is, as Rotheram put it, the city region’s “attack brand” when attending events like MIPIM.

“It’s probably one of the most recognised brands in the world,” he said.

“There’s just so much to be proud of [in Liverpool] and we need to exploit that brand a little bit more than we have done.”

The renewable energy coast

Beyond just Liverpool, Rotheram said he wanted to change the region’s identity to that of the UK’s renewable energy coast. He referenced the hydrogen power work being done with HyNet at Ellesmere Port, the Burbo offshore wind farm in Liverpool Bay, and the ambitious Mersey Tidal Power Project that would turn the River Mersey into an energy generator.

Adding those green energy schemes to the LCR Connect project, which is bringing full-fibre connectivity to the region, makes for a winning combination.

“You’ve got the fastest digital speeds in the whole country and a source of green, renewable energy,” Rotheram said. “That just takes us stratospheric, doesn’t it?”

To achieve his vision, he acknowledged that more than just private sector investment funds were needed. Government support would be required.

“There’s nowhere else quite as advanced as we are in our strategic proposals,” Rotheram said. “We just need the government to work with us…

“If the government were half as ambitious as we are, then we could claim our pre-eminence that we used to have,” Rotheram said. He extoled the virtue of Liverpool’s port and its transatlantic links.

“There are all sorts of things we could do to look at sustainable economic growth but it needs the government to take its eyes away from Westminster and Whitehall and really look at devolution,” he continued. “If we had stuff devolved to us, I think we’d make it far better fiscally than the current government – or any government – would do.”

Place North West MIPIM 2023 coverage is sponsored by Together.

Your Comments

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We sincerely hope so and welcome all potential investors.

By Liverpool4Progress

Admire the optimism and really hope it pays off, however if he’s got international developers and investors interested and then introduces them to the head of planning, only to be asked”where would you like to put your 10 storey building”.
Or put another way “you want to make a jelly, we have a selection of moulds you can use”

By Anonymous

Hopefully we see progress. Not good when places like Eccles currently have more tower cranes on the skyline

By Bill

I really hope he`s right, working with developers especially in Vauxhall/Leeds Street/Pumpfields and not making them cut floors or taking months to give permission will make a huge difference, sort out all the other vacant plots with high quality homes and work spaces, that together with green energy and fast internet the city region could have its shackles finally removed

By GetItBuilt!

Great news plenty of 6/7/8 storey buildings incoming…

By High Rise Bob

too little too late Steve, you’ve been here 6 years now why should the next 12 months be any different. useless

By mike

Rotherham and Co, past & present. Experts at promising the earth but deliver only fresh air. For almost half a century I have been energised by numerous & significant projects put forward only to realise it was all just pie in the sky. This City region is bursting with gargantuan potential, unfortunately the City of Liverpool council lacks the people with real potential to harness these opportunities when they have been presented. When they are presented they become ring fenced with bureaucratic process and become strangled beyond the point of never reaching fruition. I was always optimistic regarding the future of this City. However listening to the same old regurgitated rhetoric passed down over the years inevitably it turns you into pessimistic grumpy old man.

By Stephen Hart

The ”Local Plan” will see to all that. Hope any developers are ready to have to put in repeated applications and scale down.

By Anonymous

Smashed it eh? Guess all there is to do now is sit back and watch the cranes go up. Somehow I doubt it. What gets said in MIPIM in the cannes sunshine and what happens in liverpool planning department are two very different things.

By Anonymous

We’ve smashed it and we are going back to our preminance . Really ? That region does have excellent potential but his comments sound like they are coming from an over- excited child or a boastful adult who actually hasn’t achieved anything yet . Being overly boastful is not a good idea and just makes him and the region look …silly . And that’s putting it politely .

By Anonymous

Other than the transformational Port of Liverpool developments and rapid growth in shipping market share in 15 years, it does feel like central Liverpool has had a lost decade, certainly when compared to Manchester. Living in Liverpool is brilliant, but you have to call a spade a spade, or rather the disturbing lack of them amongst the development blight from recent years.

By Anonymous

Not according to PNW. They see Lpool as dead in the water

By Anon

    Psst Anon, you do know you are reading this story on PNW, right?

    By Julia Hatmaker

That might be true in the City centre but the outlying areas of the ‘Merseyside Region’ resemble third world countries with an increasingly failing public transport structure. Since Halton was designated part of this region and obliged to pay an extra £15 monthly council tax for the ‘honour’, it has gone downhill rapidly. Two of these green ‘investment projects’ in our remai ing historical spaces are being resisted by residents. Investment at the cost of the community is not progress ….

By Anonymous

In response to a few comments here, the obsession with regurgitating tall towers has let to quite a few developments in Manchester that just look uninspiring. Perhaps Liverpool would be a better place for focusing on quality schemes rather than endless glass blocks?

By Levelling Up Manager

“Regurgitating tall towers”, we’ve only got 3 over 30 floors, that’s not tall. Anyway why do you maintain tall means low quality.
Low quality often arises when you restrict developers ambitions.

By Anonymous

Yeah sorry Levelling up Manager but trying to point to another city and elements you might like in decades of development and huge ongoing investment does not in any way obviate the points made above.

By Anonymous

Agree with Anon 1:33.
I would also advise some of the commenters to actually consider the wider impact of Manc’s regeneration and redevelopment. If you think it’s all glass blocks, you’d be seriously deluded and part of the problem. And to be fair, some of the towers are starting to look pretty good. The square, blocky ones almost form a backdrop.

Visiting feels exciting, like it should.

By Anonymous

Smashed it?… oh If only Steve. Cranes in the sky , spades in the ground investment by the billion in transport ,infrastructure, offices and apartments, that when you’ve smashed it. What you’ve done sir is lightly breath in its general direction.

By Monty

@By Levelling Up Manager. That’s not really how it works though. In reality Manchester is rapidly regenerating its city centre and has a reputation for its dynamism and business friendly attitude, jobs jobs jobs in Manchester. Liverpool still has swathes of dereliction because the unbelievably backward planning attitudes stifles investment.

By Anonymous

“… those projects now will be met with a council that’s geared to helping them deliver it.”

I read this line as an email notification popped up with a decision notice refusing planning permission for another project in Liverpool. We’ll be preparing a quote for the appeal and expect to win the appeal and be awarded costs against the Council in about 8 months time. I wonder how many staff they could have hired for the fees paid out on lost planning appeals?

By Anonymous

So Steve is there, where is Andy?, thought he would be representing GM.

By Anonymous

    Hi Anonymous. GM was represented by Deputy Mayor Paul Dennett at MIPIM. Mayor Burnham was in America promoting GM during SXSW. – Julia

    By Julia Hatmaker

Please can we all remember “Smashed it” how embarrassing after 6 years of nothingness. He is a waste of time along with his position. Absolute basics such as the scandalous rail fares to London which prohibit N/W companies looking to work in our capital never get a mention. Talks about grand schemes delivers nothing . Get rid .

By Paul M - Woolton

I’m sure his boastful comments will no doubt blow up back in face

By Anonymous

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