The local authority’s strategic director of growth and development, who has been in post for just under a year, has resigned from her role “to be closer to family”.
Louise Wyman joined Manchester City Council last July during the first coronavirus lockdown and has been responsible for the city’s strategic development during the pandemic and the publication of its economic recovery roadmap for the years ahead.
Based in the Midlands prior to taking the role in Manchester, Wyman has “reflected on the past year and decided that she wants to be closer to family”, according to a statement from the council today.
“Louise’s view is that the strategic director role needs someone to be present and active in the city, driving the economic recovery, investment and growth plans,” the statement said.
She will leave her post at the end of April and interim arrangements will be put in place in due course. It is understood Wyman has yet to secure a position elsewhere.
She said: “I’ve made the decision to leave Manchester City Council towards the end of April. It has been a genuine privilege to be strategic director for growth and development for the past year and lead a brilliant team of talented, dedicated and enterprising colleagues.
“I’m proud of the plans we’ve put in place, with partners across the city, to drive Manchester’s economic recovery and secure future investment. Despite the challenges of working through a pandemic, we’ve continued to drive transformational projects for the city, such as Victoria North, Mayfield, Eastern Gateway and the new Arena.
“A clear transition plan to bring our [arms length housing management organisation] Northwards back into the council in July is now in place. Real progress in also underway in decarbonising our corporate estate to meet our zero carbon ambitions.”
She added that Manchester’s property market has shown “true resilience” over the past year and with robust plans in place, the city is “well positioned” to recover from Covid-19.
“It’s now time for me to move on but I wish my fantastic colleagues, our partners and the amazing city of Manchester every success in the future.”
Council leader Sir Richard Leese added: “This past year has urged many of us to reflect and consider what in our lives we hold most dear and where we should focus our energies. Although we’re sad to lose a member of our senior team, her decision to prioritise family at this time is one that we very much respect.
“Louise’s legacy from her albeit brief tenure at [the council] will be felt for years to come, as we embrace her economic recovery plans that will help ensure the city’s success beyond the pandemic.”
Wyman oversaw the publication last November of the council’s detailed economic recovery strategy, Powering Recovery: Manchester’s Recovery and Investment Plan, which set out plans to cement Manchester’s position as “the UK’s premier growth city”.
The plan set out an immediate £36m funding boost for people and businesses hit hard by the Covid-slowdown, and a longer term investment strategy featuring a list of £800m of “crucial” regeneration projects for which the council would bid for Government funding to help deliver.
Among the projects were those that aim to drive innovation in health, science and technology,
such as the redevelopment of the North Manchester hospital into a health and wellbeing ‘campus’, as well as schemes to improve city centre public realm and support culture and creative industries.
“Louise’s contribution to an economic recovery strategy and roadmap out of the pandemic will continue to guide the future prosperity of the city for years to come,” said Joanne Roney, chief executive of Manchester City Council.
“Under her watch, her teams have driven – and will continue to drive – some exemplar development projects, including Mayfield and Victoria North.
“Although Louise has been with us for a short time, the work that she has led will be crucial to Manchester and I can’t thank her enough for her time with us.”