You'll have noticed that MIPIM 2015 is just a few days away, particularly if you've spent the week looking for your passport and buying sensible shoes. Manchester once again seems to be storming ahead of its UK rivals with a stonking 70 partners signed up as part of the delegation, a new record compared with previous years and more than twice its closest rival.
Manchester partnership at MIPIM
44 in 2011
46 in 2012
45 in 2013
59 in 2014
70 in 2015
Birmingham partnership at MIPIM
19 in 2011
16 in 2012
18 in 2013
25 in 2014
30 in 2015
Back in 1990 when MIPIM began, there were only a few thousand Europeans milling around town – it might even have been possible to get a taxi.
1990 2,973 participants from 22 countries. 837 companies
1995 6,643 participants from 48 countries. 2,210 companies
2000 12,656 participants from 61 countries. 4,943 companies
2005 17,641 participants from 74 countries. 6,235 companies
2010 18,000 participants from 81 countries. 6,165 companies
2015 21,000 participants expected, from 93 countries. 6,800 companies
Delegate numbers leapt between 2005 to a high of 29,318 delegates in 2008, but in 2009 dropped to 18,000 – it's almost as if there was a global financial collapse or something. The total number of delegates has been climbing steadily since, but 2015's total is expected to be roughly the same as 2014. With much of Europe struggling, the Brits will be at their bounciest, one fancies.
Water water everywhere
Well hopefully not. According to annual programme data just published, the North West Regional Flood & Coastal Committee has a whole raft, if you will, of projects on the go to keep us safe and dry…
£225,122,000 – Total estimated value of projects currently under construction in the North West
£45,148,000 – Funding allocated for 2015-2016 period
This covers 28 projects, spread evenly: four in Merseyside, seven in Cheshire, five in Cumbria, seven in Lancashire, four in Greater Manchester and one in Cheshire/Greater Manchester combined. The big ticket work is mostly on the Lancashire coast, with flood alleviation/risk management schemes in Warrington and Wigan also prominent.
29,825 The total number of households promised a better level of protection when work is completed.
There's a further £33,257,000 of work scheduled to start by April 2016 (with £3,759,000 of funding committed) and £4,606,900 of work scheduled for the same timeframe (£1,885,400 committed), subject to securing other funding.
The word from those in the know is that whereas the Environment Agency was once very much the main player when it came to flood alleviation projects, these days "rainbow alliances" are the order of the day – partnerships with local authorities, DEFRA, bodies such as the Highways Agency and Network Rail – whatever it takes to unlock the funding necessary. And the projects where there's more obviously a pressing need, to support the efforts of UK plc, will be prioritised.
Highs and lows
The headlines around the publication of the Centre for Cities' Cities Outlook report were all about the North-South divide in job creation. But the report's 60 pages contain some fascinating stats for the region.
Six top ten places – Warrington, the region's star performer – over 10 years it places third in business growth, has the ninth smallest increase in housing affordability ratio, and is eighth in growing its number of houses. In the short-term stats it ranks first in employment rate, fourth in the proportion of private sector jobs and sixth in housing stock growth.
Highs and lows – Blackburn, ranks fifth in the country for patents granted per 100,000 of population, reflecting perhaps its well regarded advanced manufacturing cluster, but is 56th in 10-year housing growth, and only six places have a higher proportion of people with no formal qualifications. Worryingly it ranks 62nd in digital connectivity. Burnley and Blackpool also languish in connectivity – a priority for Lancashire?
Bubbling under – Rochdale, made for grim reading as did stats for Burnley, Wigan and Blackpool. In the 10-year data trawl Rochdale comes in the bottom 10 for private sector jobs growth and the growth in the number of houses built. In the last year studied, 2013, it is 60th in employment rate, 58th in private sector jobs growth, 57th in high level qualifications (while only four places have a higher proportion of those with no formal qualifications) and 60th in level of earnings. Council leader Richard Farnell made a spirited defence but the message is clear – jobs, jobs and more jobs are needed. Time for the "Manchester Family" to rally round?
Football's staying power
Have you noticed there's been a lot of stories about Hotel Football, opened last week by Manchester United's Class of 92 brethren? The hotel has rapidly made a big impact with Google hits (although the SEO-friendly name probably helps), while outside of match days room rates stack up reasonably with some of the North West's other widely written-about destinations. Here we've looked at Google results, room rates for a standard double booking on 1 June 2015, and the current TripAdvisor rating for each.
Hotel Football: 34,100,000 Google results, £110, 5 rating
Great John Street Hotel Manchester: 7,880,000 Google results, £240, 4.5 rating
Midland Hotel Manchester: 747,000 Google results, £98, 4.5 rating
Grosvenor, Chester: 181,000 Google results, £175, 4.5 rating
Midland Hotel, Morecambe: 67,900 Google results, £116, 4.5 rating
Hilton, Liverpool: 118,000,000 Google results, £105, 4 rating
Hard Days Night Hotel, Liverpool: 2,740,000 Google results, £99, 4 rating
Formby Hall: 212,000 Google results, £130, 4 rating
Whites Bolton: 109,000 Google results, £75, 4 rating
Britannia Manchester: 779,000 Google results, £85, 2.5 rating
Clearly, the Hilton name carries a lot of internet weight. Even with a low profile though, good operators can impress thanks to the democratising influence of user review sites.