It’s a week since the largest ever Leeds City Region delegation touched down from MIPIM, at a rather foggy Leeds Bradford Airport. Despite the weather, the atmosphere onboard was one of positivity and enthusiasm from what was a thoroughly exciting MIPIM for everyone involved. In spite of Brexit and all the uncertainty it brings, there was an upbeat air about the whole week, and this is unsurprising given the raft of happenings afoot for the region.
The week kicked off with a warm welcome from the Jet2 team, who made check in a breeze, followed by a view of the future of LBA from Chief Executive David Laws and a stirring speech from Roger Marsh, Chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. This was to set the tone for what was to come in Cannes.
Tuesday opened with a crash of symbols and bang of drums as the Yorkshire Tea band kicked off the opening of the LCR stand in style, and sound! Their unique renditions of popular songs certainly drew a crowd and ensured all MIPIM delegates knew where to find the Leeds City Region stand (and a good cup of Yorkshire Tea too!).
A host of topical events followed with transport investment, Kirklees 10,000 homes ‘Big Build’, innovation economy, tech and 5G all on the agenda to be discussed by expert panels. It was enlightening to hear a host of different perspectives on the investment and development that will shape the Leeds City Region over the coming years, not least the proposed station that will be a real game changer for the White Rose Office Park. There is certainly a lot to be excited about.
As the conference drew to a close for the day, attention moved to the evenings networking event. Delegates and guests were treated to a special performance from the excellent Phoenix Dance Company; from what we saw it would be thoroughly advisable to check out one of their shows. Business was certainly still on the agenda as a pocket full of business cards and worthwhile contacts can testify for.
Wednesday got off to a quieter start, sans brass band, but the sun was out and the Leeds property agents meet and greet over breakfast was another informative and well-attended session. We were especially pleased to see our retained agents Jeff Pearey or JLL, Adam Cockroft of Cushman Wakefield and Claire McGowan of CBRE there.
More panel sessions on the LCR stand followed this time we heard about how Leeds City Region and London can work together to deliver growth, the future of cities, the Bradford story, Wakefield, sport and culture, as well as new scheme announcements from York City Council. A busy day on the stand topped off with the premiere of the Leeds City Region film premiere in the evening.
Thursday the rain came, Cannes was awash with umbrellas, soggy suits and wet feet. But spirits were not dampened by the weather as delegates headed indoors to seek out what was on offer from the hundreds of stands inside the Palais. With a quieter programme on the LCR stand it was time to see the incredible scale model of the City of London in all its glory, as well as the model from Turkey that included lights and moving boats. Some very impressive craftsmanship on display indeed.
With Friday’s afternoon departure back to Leeds Bradford there was just enough time to make some final connections and reflect on what was one of the most successful MIPIM visits on record. The presence, in such force, of the Leeds City Region was refreshing and welcome to see; coupled with the numerous new projects and developments announced made by Martin Farrington on Tuesday, there is plenty to be optimistic about.