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04/03/2016

Rupert Goddard - Partner, Sheppard Robson

Written by Rupert Goddard

We are really excited to be supporting Manchester again, and I'm personally looking forward to my third MIPIM experience.

The last couple of years at Sheppard Robson’s Manchester studio have been about exporting what we do to the great cities of the Powerhouse – we’re working in Newcastle on a new conference and learning centre for the University, in Leeds we’re developing a new commercial quarter, in Liverpool we’re building a £100m residential development just off Penny Lane. Further afield, we’re working with two Birmingham Universities on science projects and have just started on a new £63m school in East Ayrshire.

This spirit of looking outside the city seems to me to be in tune with Manchester’s (and the region’s) spirit of regional partnership. When I moved up from London 10 years ago I was amazed by how entrenched the Yorkshire-Lancashire-Merseyside enmity was, and the key to our success in the future lies in getting beyond this. It is great to see that the great cities of the North are getting together to realise the power we have as a region.

We’re proud to be part of a great tradition of creative energy and ideas that has been part of the history of the city. The openness of Manchester to new arrivals has been key to its development as a city, but sadly there is still work to be done to convince some southerners that there is life north of Watford. Take a bow, Giles Coren, whose negative views of Manchester dining are depressingly predictable.

Talking of food, and Mr Coren, there is a quiet revolution taking place in Manchester that is being driven not by high-end restaurants but by individuals with a passion for hand-made food with an edge. When these individuals gather together, in places like Altrincham Market, they create something very special. Giles’ in-depth research didn't pick up on places like Alty Market, which I think says more about him, and the attitude that still persists among some Londoners, than it does about the culinary delights of our region.

I'm looking forward then to a busy week where Manchester once again shows the world what it is all about.