Call for infrastructure spend increase

Simon Donohue

More money needs to be invested in infrastructure according to delegates at a meeting of pro-manchester's newly formed Property & Regeneration Sector Group.

Group chairman Stephen Chalcraft, a partner in the real estate team at Pannone solicitors, said that with only 1.4% of GDP currently being invested in infrastructure, the spend on major projects needs to be increased.

"There is currently more interest in the housing market than in infrastructure," he said. "However, economists are now beginning to argue that the focus needs to shift and we need to start investing in infrastructure to keep up with other European countries."

The membership organisation for the financial and professional sector launched The Property and Regeneration Sector Group with a breakfast session held at Bruntwood's City Tower in Manchester.

Sir Richard LeeseOther delegates included Manchester City Council leader Cllr Sir Richard Leese and experts from Manchester Airports Group and Arup.

With increasing focus on bringing more businesses into the city centre, delegates discussed how current infrastructure would cope and what new measures are in place to allow economic growth and prosperity.

Sir Richard Leese said: "How do we update a Victorian infrastructure?" Touching briefly on HS2, Sir Richard explained that without the right infrastructure, trade would suffer, having a direct impact on the economy. He added: "Look at China. Would they be the economic force they are today if they were still using the Marco Polo Silk Road?"

Attended by over 90 pro∙manchester members and sector experts, the event marked the beginning of a series of strategic sessions and projects that will assist the economic and regeneration plans set out by Manchester City Council.

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A very strong focus should be looking at the trains heading into Manchester each morning / evening and how they affect businesses coming to do business in Manchester. European countries are well ahead in this instance. Another example this weekend during the Rugby finals – 3 carriages per train in and out of Manchester to carry spectators = bad planning.

By Anon

Yes, the trains into Manchester on Saturday couldn’t cope with the crowds heading to the rugby event at Old Trafford. I personally know people that couldn’t even get into Manchester from Yorkshire for the game and just gave it up as a bad job. If we can’t get the fundamentals right why would everything else drop magically into place?

By Sparky

This is a bug bear of mine too. If we can invest on a whole load of bus lanes for our region’s subsidised, half empty buses why can’t we put a proper amount of carriages on each of the rail routes? This is a daily problem not just one affecting the odd weekend.