Flying the Yorkshire Flag
I returned from MIPIM having spent a very productive week as part of the Leeds City Region and Sheffield City Region delegations in Cannes. There was a clear sense of optimism and confidence, reflecting the buoyant construction and property market in which we now find ourselves.
It was great to support Yorkshire and it was particularly encouraging that Leeds and Sheffield city regions came together, providing a joint offer to investors from across the world. And with so much focus and emphasis currently being placed on the Northern Powerhouse, the fact that the big Yorkshire cities shared a stand shows that the authorities are embracing the idea of regional devolution. Indeed, I had the opportunity to speak to a number of local authority chief executives whilst in Cannes and all of them were fully committed to the combined might of the Yorkshire region. But I think our branding could do more to reflect this unity.
The Leeds and Sheffield city regions shared a stand, but rather than brand it as a Yorkshire stand it incorporated separate branding for both areas. Indeed, when you consider that each region includes a number of authorities (such as Bradford, Doncaster, York and Chesterfield), this separate branding starts to lack coherence.
Which brings me to the point…
2014 saw the Grand Depart come to Yorkshire in what is widely recognised as one of the most successful events ever in this part of the world. The global exposure this event afforded the Yorkshire brand is something that we should be building upon. Let’s use the Yorkshire brand for bringing together the Leeds and Sheffield city regions. If we unite all of the local authorities under the Yorkshire flag it achieves real cohesion and offers a demonstrable commitment to the regional devolution debate.
We’ll be supporting the Leeds and Sheffield city regions again both at MIPIM 2016 and MIPIM UK later this year. It would be great if we could do that under the Yorkshire banner.