A decade ago, the international property conference at Mipim in Cannes seemed to be full of British local authorities and inward investment agencies keen to promote the opportunities available to developers and investors. With budgets to spend, the Riviera was the place to go and be seen if you wanted to attract that vital investment.
Then came austerity and, for many authorities, the party ended.
Some big cities and metropolitan authorities clubbed together, often with the private sector, to save on costs and continued to attend MIPIM. The London Pavilion continued to attract interest from around the world and became a model of success. More recently, the Midlands region and Manchester have also taken pavilions, with other cities such as Bristol and Bath also promoting themselves. In general, though, the smaller local authorities have been notable in their absence.
Is this now changing?
For the first time at MIPIM 2020, Invest Dudley, the inward investment arm of Dudley Council, will, in addition to having a presence in the Midlands UK pavilion, also have an exhibition stand within the Palais des Festivals itself. Senior staff will be on-hand for the duration of MIPIM to promote the opportunities on offer and the local authority will be making a “huge announcement” during the four-day conference.
Strategic town centres including Brierley Hill and Dudley have £350m of regeneration schemes and work has now started on a £449 million extension of the metro link between Wednesbury to Brierley Hill. In addition, Dudley’s Enterprise Zone, DY5, has 52,000 square metres of development space.
The leader of Dudley Council, Patrick Harley, said "With developments like the Midlands Metro line extension, Dudley is on the cusp of becoming a real investment hotspot. We have lots of fantastic ready-to-go regeneration opportunities that we want to talk to interested parties about, right now.
"The time is now for Dudley. It has enormous potential and is ripe for development. We are very serious about our intentions at MIPIM and we are keen to engage and discuss these opportunities with the right people when we are in Cannes."
Dudley is clearly a local authority keen to showcase what it has to offer on an international platform, engage with new investors and drive investment. For any local authority wishing to do the same, it's becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the attractions of MIPIM.