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315째 THE RDA MAGAZINE OCT 2006 ISSUE 10

TOWERING AMBITIONS Blackpool bids for regeneration jackpot

New frontiers Daresbury to become science hothouse Media metropolis New waterfront home for BBC Liverpool Biennial Art takes to the streets


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HIGHLIGHTS

CONTENTS THE THIRD DEGREE 4

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THE RDA MAGAZINE OCT 2006 ISSUE 10

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BUSINESS 6

Daresbury lights up knowledge economy

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Smart ideas transform textile industry

DARESBURY LIGHTS UP KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY Investment in cutting-edge scientific projects takes on a new significance as the region’s universities, research institutions and funding agencies unite to develop the technologies that will drive tomorrow’s world.

Kevin Anderson

10 Launchpads for young enterprise 11 Agency fit for purpose

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SKILLS AND EDUCATION

NEW WATERFRONT HOME FOR BBC Bringing together an expanded BBC presence with independent companies and new media enterprises signals the birth of a dynamic cutting-edge digital hub at Salford Quays.

12 Engine of the knowledge economy 14 New Train to Gain service launched 15 Academy focus on skills training

PEOPLE AND JOBS 16 New waterfront home for BBC

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18 Resort sets pace in the casino stakes 20 Market towns revival

RESORT SETS PACE IN THE CASINO STAKES Blackpool’s ambitious vision to transform itself into a world-class destination resort, with the UK’s first regional casino at its heart.

21 Building a balanced economy

INFRASTRUCTURE 22 Investment boost for transport network

QUALITY OF LIFE 24 Biennial celebrates visual culture

OUR VISION:

315° CONTACTS

26 On-line festival for young talent 27 Joining the race for Olympic gold

REGULARS 28 People in the region 30 Event highlights 31 Getting in touch

‘A dynamic, sustainable international economy which competes on the basis of knowledge, advanced technology and an excellent quality of life for all.’

CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE

Editor Trevor Bates email@trevorbates.fsnet.co.uk NWDA Erica Boardman email: erica.boardman@nwda.co.uk tel: 01925 400 217 visit www.nwda.co.uk & www.visitenglandsnorthwest.com

A NEW BLACKPOOL As this edition of 315° goes to print, the vision of a ‘New Blackpool’, transformed by a new casino development, has been set out to the Casino Advisory Panel, who recently visited the town to examine the merits of the proposal. Along with everyone in the region, the NWDA was delighted that the Northwest proved to be so successful in the Panel’s shortlist for hosting the regional casino, with strong bids from Blackpool and Manchester featuring alongside Sefton’s bid for the large/small casino category. The next few months will be critical as the Advisory Panel reflects on its recent evidence sessions and come to a decision as to which town or city will be chosen. Last year, along with the North West Regional Assembly and Government Office for the North West, the NWDA commissioned an independent study to examine the economic potential of casino development in the Northwest. This concluded that Blackpool was most likely to reap the greatest overall economic, tourism and regeneration benefits in the region from a casino development. In addition, the Regional Economic Strategy highlights the implementation of the Blackpool Masterplan, with a casino development at its heart, as a key transformational action. With only one regional casino planned at this time, the Agency believes that Blackpool’s case is overwhelming. The need for economic and social regeneration in Blackpool is becoming ever more of a priority and it is clear that there are no

substantive alternatives other than casinoled regeneration for Blackpool to address its needs. Of course, if the decision is made to increase the number of casino licences granted, then the Agency will also support Manchester's bid. Hosting the regional casino presents a unique, and unrivalled, opportunity to transform Blackpool from a resort in decline to a resort with a world-class offering. The proposed casino and conference centre would bring a significant – and much needed – boost to the local economy. An estimated 2,500 to 3,400 jobs would be created and a further £200 million to £450 million of capital investment would be brought into the town as a result. Winning the regional casino would be a significant step forward in the drive to create a thriving tourism and leisure economy for Blackpool and its transformation into a 21st century world-class destination resort. During this process, the region has been left in no doubt of Blackpool’s clear sense of ambition. I am convinced that over the coming weeks, as the Casino Advisory Panel assesses the merits of each bid, it should conclude that Blackpool, as the UK’s leading seaside resort, is the right choice.

Bryan Gray, Chairman, October 2006


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THE THIRD DEGREE

KEVIN ANDERSON Dr. Kevin Anderson is a leading expert on climate change and a strong advocate of having aircraft emissions included in national carbon reduction targets. He is Research Director of the Tyndall Centre at the University of Manchester, an academic ‘think tank’ on climate change.

Climate change has risen to the top of the political agenda. How would you assess the challenge facing the Northwest? Responding to the challenge of climate change will require innovative and courageous regional leadership. The Northwest has a disproportionate amount of heavy industry and hence our emissions per capita are high. That arguably makes it more of a challenge in respect of CO2 emissions. The chemical industry is a major economic asset for the Northwest but a very high user of energy and perhaps it would be fairer if we had more of the national target than other regions because of this reliance on industry. Nevertheless, if we in the Northwest are serious about tackling climate change there is no escaping the need for urgent, radical and stringent carbon-reduction policies. What are the long-term implications for the region in terms of weather? Science says that the Northwest like other regions is getting warmer and wetter. Between 1861 and 2004 the average Northwest temperature rose 0.67°C while rainfall went up 38%. The July heat wave demonstrated how unprepared we are for longish spells of very hot weather. In the 1960s we used to get maybe one day a year like that, now we get about 10 days and by 2050 we will be having significantly more. This could have a big impact on the way we live our lives, the way we work, on our transport infrastructure and on our health. We are also likely to see more heavy and prolonged rain and more disruptive flooding of the kind we experienced recently in Glossop and Carlisle – our infrastructure is simply not designed to cope with this monsoon-style rainfall. How should we respond to this different climate? Any actions we take in future to develop the region’s infrastructure, whether it’s building new factories, schools, roads or homes, should take account of the fact that our climate is going to be a lot more dynamic than it has been in recent history. Whilst it is likely to get much warmer, there is a very small possibility – if the Gulf stream weakens – the UK could actually get colder. That’s quite a design challenge, but one that we can and should respond to. The UK is still building houses in a standard Barratt-type format without a lot of thought for these issues. That concerns me. You’re on record saying that demand reduction is the only viable option for meeting the emissions target. Please explain.

If we are really serious about meeting government targets on carbon emissions we need to act now. We cannot afford to wait for more nuclear power, and the new technologies of carbon capture, biofuels and hydrogen. They will not be making any real contribution for 10, 15 or 20 years. The only area where there’s significant opportunity from now to 2015 is in demand reduction. This will entail serious changes in our behaviour, particularly in the home, and through technical innovation in the manufacture of white goods and energy systems. What sort of action would reduce demand? At the moment we walk around the house in winter in T-shirts expecting our central heating to keep us warm. Yet if we wore slightly warmer clothes we would not necessarily have to heat the whole house. Turn the radiator down when you go out, install energy efficient lighting and buy only energy efficient appliances. Households are a critical sector in reducing emissions and a difficult nut to crack because it involves changing deeply ingrained habits. You recently called for a moratorium on airport expansion. How do you justify that? Emissions from aviation are currently half that of cars but by 2012 they will be level pegging. Unfortunately there are no lowcarbon technologies waiting in the wings as there are for cars. Unless we are prepared to tackle the growth rate in aviation, which is expanding at 8-10% a year there is almost no hope of reducing our CO2 emissions. We are not telling people they cannot fly, but rather, as a society, we cannot increase how often we fly. That’s an important distinction. That’s fairly controversial given the view that great aviation hubs like Manchester Airport make a vital contribution to regional prosperity. To my knowledge, there is no categorical evidence to suggest that aviation is very good for the local economy. It’s a belief, a faith if you like that aviation creates prosperity. If you think about it, more tourism pounds fly out of the Northwest than fly in. Is that a good thing? Wouldn’t it be better if those pounds were spent in Blackpool and the Lake District rather than Barcelona or Berlin? Certainly aviation facilitates investment, but again the jury is out as to whether it stimulates a net flow of money into or out of the region. What role do you think renewable energy should play in the Northwest? All new buildings must have renewable generation schemes built into them – the NWDA should make renewable technologies a condition of grant funding. There should be

a rapid expansion of small, medium and large-scale renewable electricity generation across the region – within towns, cities and industrial areas as well as in the countryside. We should incentivise the production of energy crops for use in biofuels and provide R&D support for emergent renewable energy technologies. What would you like to see from the soonto-be launched Northwest Climate Change Action Plan? I would like the region to show real leadership on climate change by ensuring that emissions associated with flights using our regional airports do not increase. It could also set an example by encouraging higher build standards for new houses and devising ways of retrofitting existing properties to make them more resourceefficient. We also need to focus on ways of getting people out of their cars and on to public transport. Do you practice what you preach? I try to live a relatively low-carbon lifestyle. I’ve chosen not to have a television, or fridge, and have no freezer or washer. Despite being on a green electricity tariff and living in an old house, my combined gas and electricity bill is around £200 a year. I travel by train where reasonably possible and haven’t flown, for work or pleasure, for the past 2 years. For further information: www.nwda.co.uk/climatechange

ACTION PLAN FACTFILE ‘Rising to the Challenge – A Climate Change Action Plan for England's Northwest’ – aims to help prepare the region for the challenges of a changing climate and build the Northwest’s resilience to future energy needs. I Led by the NWDA, the Action Plan has

been developed following extensive consultation with a wide range of regional organisations and experts, including workshops and interviews. I The Action Plan aims to increase

energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the Northwest’s low carbon energy supply. I It will be reviewed every three years,

with progress reported annually. I The final Action Plan will be

launched on 9th November. Visit www.nwda.co.uk/events to register attendance.


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BUSINESS NEWS Sports car maker TVR is to continue production of the exclusive brand in Blackpool safeguarding 250 manufacturing jobs following efforts by Blackpool Borough Council and the NWDA to retain the company in the region. Production will remain at the present site until a new factory is built at Blackpool Airport. UK Biobank, the multi-million pound medical project aimed at improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer and diabetes has received the go-ahead to roll out its programme nationwide. Following a pilot in Manchester, the protocol received backing from international scientific and medical experts. America remained the key source of investment into the Northwest with 45 new projects during 2005-06, according to figures released by the NWDA. The 112 investments attracted to the region created or safeguarded 6,800 jobs. Successes included the expansion of The Bank of New York in Manchester and Asahi Glass in Lancashire. Further economic recovery is expected in the Northwest with growth improving from just over 2% to more than 2.5% in each of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009, according to the latest report from the Regional Economic Forecasting Panel, chaired by economist David Coates. Eleven Northwest organisations, including The Co-operative Group, Pirelli Tyres, British Transport Police and Impact Development Training Group collected Big Tick accolades at Business in the Community’s 2006 Awards for Excellence. NWDA Chairman Bryan Gray, won the Prince’s Ambassador Award. Former Ernst & Young management consultant Mike Emmerich has been appointed Chief Executive of Manchester Enterprises, the economic development agency for Greater Manchester. He is a former adviser to both the Prime Minister’s Office and HM Treasury.

DARESBURY LIGHTS UP KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY Investment in cutting-edge scientific projects is taking on a new significance as the region’s universities, research institutions and funding agencies unite to develop the technologies that will drive tomorrow’s world. Some of these technologies are expected to emerge from the flagship Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus where the pioneering interaction of industry,

entrepreneurs, research scientists and engineers promises to provide more fuel for the knowledge economy. A masterplan strategy for the campus, currently being worked up by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and its partners, envisages a huge technocommunity stretching from the M56 to Daresbury populated by corporate headquarters, research institutes, innovation facilities and grow-on space. Dr George Baxter, Director of Science and Innovation at the Agency, which is investing £50 million at Daresbury, believes the campus when fully developed will have a powerful beneficial effect on the national and regional economy over the next 10-15 years.

“It has everything going for it,” he says. “It’s in the heart of the countryside, close to the M56, only a few miles from Manchester Airport and over time could provide millions of square feet in a 21st century setting.” The complex is already proving popular with small companies and technology-driven entrepreneurs. The Daresbury Innovation Centre – one of two new buildings on the site provided by the NWDA – has attracted 24 tenants since it was opened one year ago and expects to be full by the middle of next year.

BEACON OF EXCELLENCE The government recently singled out Daresbury as one of two strategically important science campuses where it will partner business and the universities in a drive to use advanced technologies to sharpen the UK’s global competitiveness. Science Minister Lord Sainsbury formally announced the ‘dipole’ model of two campuses – the other is Harwell in Oxfordshire – when he visited Daresbury in September to officially open the new campus and the Cockcroft Institute, a centre of excellence in accelerator science. Here, he praised Halton Borough Council’s support for the campus. Dr Baxter regards the Institute as the first major component in the grand plan to make Daresbury an international beacon of scientific excellence. “It wonderfully demonstrates that the only way to win these big projects is by collaboration between key partners.” Three regional universities, Manchester, Liverpool and Lancaster, joined forces with the NWDA and Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC) to successfully bid for the Institute, edging out London and Oxford. It is named after Nobel Laureate Sir John Cockcroft who was born in the Northwest and is regarded as the pioneer of modern accelerator research. Headed by particle physicist Professor John Dainton, the Institute will have an

“IT WONDERFULLY DEMONSTRATES THAT THE ONLY WAY TO WIN THESE BIG PROJECTS IS BY COLLABORATION BETWEEN KEY PARTNERS.” DR GEORGE BAXTER DIRECTOR OF SCIENCE AND INNOVATION, NWDA

educational as well as a fundamental research role. It has been established with an initial investment of £27 million including £10 million from the NWDA and is expected to attract internationally-renown scientists. Two research bodies, CCLRC and the Particle and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) are also partners in a venture that will tackle the challenges that scientists and engineers will face in building the next generation of particle accelerators. Accelerator science is a multi-billion pound global industry with large numbers of new facilities being designed and built. These machines probe and manipulate ultra-small structures and their use in research can produce beneficial spin-offs for medicine, high-tech manufacture such as exploiting new materials, and improving consumer and waste technologies. The two national campuses are looking for investment partners to realise their full potential. Daresbury is taking a different approach to Harwell by forming a limited company partnership to run the site made up of the NWDA, three universities (Manchester, Liverpool and Lancaster), Halton Borough Council and CCLRC. “The six partners have set up a company

Campus know-how – Lord Sainsbury at the opening of the Daresbury Campus

to manage the site and we are looking for a preferred developer or major investor who has pockets deep enough to work with us for the next 10-15 years,” explains Dr. Baxter. “In the medium term we have land to provide another ten buildings totalling 500,000 sq ft, with much more than that over a longer period,” adds Dr. Baxter. He envisages as many as 10,000 people working in the techno-community over time, compared to the current 800. For further information: email: george.baxter@nwda.co.uk tel: 01925 400 100 www.nwda.co.uk

SCIENCE LINK TO PROSPERITY The Northwest is a hotbed of scientific discovery with researchers pushing forward the frontiers in medicine, new materials, digital communications and low-carbon technologies. Many of the projects being developed in the region’s universities and research institutes have won funding support from the NWDA because of their strategic importance to the regional economy. Dr George Baxter, the NWDA’s Director of Science and Innovation, puts the Agency’s level of science-related investment at nearly £240 million over the past four years. Projects receiving recent support include: Core Technology Facility (CTF): a £25 million centre at the University of Manchester where young businesses can work alongside researchers pioneering new treatments for a wide range of diseases including replacement tissue and even whole organs. Fighting disease – Work has started on this new Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine facility

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine: a new £18 million Centre for Tropical and Infectious Disease will develop new medicines to defeat malaria and other deadly diseases, which could go into production locally. Joule Centre for Energy Research: the region’s first centre for the development of sustainable energy technologies. The £10 million project will look at areas of low-carbon power generation and improving energy efficiency in the home and industry. Five university-industry partnerships have also secured awards from the £15 million Northwest Science Fund.


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BUSINESS

SMART IDEAS TRANSFORM TEXTILE INDUSTRY Next time you glance out of the window as you cruise at 30,000 feet consider this: it’s not just the plane’s seat covers and carpets that are made from what you might think of as ‘textiles’ but far more integral parts of the aircraft too, from the wing flaps to tail fins and quite possibly the undercarriage doors.

Much of the raw material needed to produce these vital components is produced at the Runcorn factory of Sigmatex, now one of the world’s largest converters of carbon fibre into carbon fabric, a composite that is fast replacing fibre glass as the strong, lightweight material of choice. “The carbon composite market continues to grow,” explains business development manager Stephen Philipson. “Carbon fabrics are used in a vast range of applications over and above aerospace, including car interiors, body panels and chassis, the manufacture of yachts and catamarans, sports equipment and in the construction industry for bridge building and infrastructure repair.” Sigmatex also supply a major proportion of the carbon fibre fabric used to build Formula One cars. Composites like carbon fabric are just one of a new breed of technical textiles, or Advanced Flexible Materials (AFM), that are helping the Northwest to build on its reputation as the hub of the UK textile industry. “An advanced flexible material is one where its properties and performance are of more importance than its appearance,” explains Bill Mills, Director of NWTexnet, the organisation set up with the support of the Northwest Regional Development Agency to deliver the cluster development programme

in the region’s growth sectors. “And these are the future for the industry in the Northwest.” The industry employs some 28,000 people, 12,000 in the AFM sector, and such have been the advances in textile-related manufacturing that it’s now clustered within the Advanced Engineering and Materials sector, along with aerospace, automotive and chemicals.

CLEVER CLOTH This is reflected in the development of SMART textiles, fabrics that can quite literally think for themselves, such as the ‘electronically-active textiles’ developed at the University of Manchester. Now marketed under the SmartLife name, one of their first applications is a simple vest, woven with electrodes inside the fibres. This means it is possible to monitor the body’s vital signs, with the electrodes sending data about the wearer’s temperature, breathing patterns and heart rate to a remote computer. Initially the company are focusing on helping athletes to improve their performance, and applications for the emergency services, where it is important to know how close an individual is to their tolerance thresholds. But the biggest potential application is medical, where monitors in the vest can warn patients if they are about to suffer a stroke or other medical episode.

Cutting edge technology – auxetic material in honeycomb form

There is a smart element to some of the more traditional clothing being developed in the region too, and clothing technologists at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) have worked with PUMA to develop a new strip for the Italian football team. The shirt uses a groundbreaking ‘rip-stop’ fabric, which has limited stretch and prevents shirt pulling. MMU has also developed a gel suit in the form of a three layer tracksuit, which cools muscles in hot and humid conditions.

MEDICAL MARVELS Medical textiles are another area where the Northwest excels. One local company, Winsford-based Advanced Medical Solutions, has retained a manufacturing base in the region, and produces innovative new materials including an alginate dressing woven from fibres extracted from seaweed, with an additional silver coated nylon strand running through it. Known as an advanced wound care dressing, the product has an additional silver coated nylon strand running through it that helps the skin heal without leaving a scar. While it may represent the cutting edge of ‘textile’ technology, its production still relies on the traditional skills of spinning and carding. As research and development manager Richard Freeman explains, the product is set to become a weapon in the war against

CAMPUS KNOW-HOW The Centre for Materials Research and Innovation at the University of Bolton is one of the leading international development centres for auxetics, a unique type of material that gets fatter rather than thinner when stretched. This extraordinary quality means auxetics offer a huge but as yet largely untapped potential, especially in areas such as indentation and energy absorption. So far applications have ranged from cushioning in Ministry of Defence vehicles to helping combat river bank erosion, but other

superbugs like MRSA. “What we’ve been done is incorporate an active ingredient to make the dressing much more effective. Silver is a very potent antimicrobial that’s been around for thousands of years and there’s little or no recorded evidence of any bacterial resistance to it.”

GOOD HEALTH The Northwest now produces around 40% of the UK’s output of Advanced Flexible Materials, and the level of innovation continues to grow. Staff at the University of Manchester, for instance, have developed a new system of 3D weaving, while Burnley based Panaz are marketing an antibacterial fabric for use as screens and curtains in hospitals that can help stop the spread of infection. Bill Mills is confident that with this level of creativity and ingenuity, the industry has a healthy future. “Of course the sector has moved on from the days of traditional, processing,” he says, “but the fact that so many companies have adapted, changed and innovated is testimony to their durability.” For further information: email: bill.mills@nwtexnet.co.uk tel: 01204 374840 www.nwtexnet.co.uk

possible uses include protective clothing such as bullet-proof vests and crash helmets, and biomedical applications, including replacement blood vessels, drug-delivery materials and anti-ageing treatments. Researchers are also trying to develop the perfect mattress. The University has also led research into high technology areas such as geotextiles for the construction industry and filtration materials, while the healthcare industry has benefited from the University’s research into medical textiles, particularly a new single-layer compression bandage for treating leg ulcers.


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BUSINESS

LAUNCHPADS FOR YOUNG ENTERPRISE More business-supported initiatives are under way across the Northwest to develop the entrepreneurial talents of young people, a critical element in the drive to improve the region’s performance in new company formation. Organisations like Young Enterprise Northwest (YENW) are showing the way forward with a range of programmes that promote ‘learning by doing’, equipping young people with the skills needed to enter the world of business. Students from Manchester Grammar School (MGS) demonstrated the value of this work by edging out five other schools to win

the top award in the regional final of the educational charity’ s Young Enterprise Awards competition. The MGS group started up their venture ‘Xodus’ - as part of YENW’s Company Programme, which enables young people to run their own business over one academic year. They elect a board of directors, sell shares, design their own products and services and market them. The winning company, which represented the Greater Manchester Area, designed and produced a bath alarm for the visually impaired, which prevents bath overflows by monitoring water levels. Ben Black, Managing Director of Xodus, said the students wanted to come up with something that would work and would sell in the real world. “We have learnt so much from being involved in the programme. It’s all the things that you don’t learn in the classroom but will need in future life.” The award ceremony was hosted by Lancaster University Management School and sponsored by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). “One of our key priorities is to build entrepreneurship, by working with schools to develop the creativity, drive and motivation to succeed in business, ” said NWDA Chief Executive Steven Broomhead.

Graduate enterprise – Emma Pattison with some of her soft furnishings

AGENCY FIT FOR PURPOSE Award winner – Ben Black of Xodus with YENW Chief Executive Chris Curry

The region has also hosted the first Flying Start event organised by the Royal Society of Arts and National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship which is solely focused on the creative industries. Sixty students and graduates, including 11 from the Northwest, joined a three-day practical business readiness course at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) to learn how to take their ideas off the drawing board and into realty.

BUSINESS MENTOR They included Abby Flier who wants to set up a business selling her own distinctive range of 60’s inspired jewellery and Emma Pattison who has developed a line of bespoke soft furnishings. Both are MMU graduates. Each of those chosen to attend the course has been assigned an experienced business mentor for 12 months to advise them on the practicalities of starting their own companies. They will compete for a £15,000 cash prize, which is to be awarded in January by the RSA. Programme Director Dr Lorna Collins says the aim of Flying Start is to help more graduate start-ups reach the trading stage. “We have 3,000 doing the on-line general business programme but only 7% of them are trading. That’s too low.” The NWDA plans to keep the bandwagon rolling by supporting a number of regionwide activities leading up to and during Enterprise Week, a national celebration of enterprise aimed at 14 to 25 year-olds, the future key to the region’s economic growth. Five hundred youngsters will be given hot tips on how to succeed in business at the ‘Next Big Thing’ at Manchester’s Printworks (Nov 16), an event sponsored by the NWDA in partnership with the Institute of Directors and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. For further information: www.youngenterprisenw.org

The region’s push for increased prosperity is being given a fresh impetus following the introduction of business-style organisational and operational changes within the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). Specialist teams have been established to strengthen policy-making, sharpen project development and programme delivery, and improve co-ordination with sub-regional partners. The Agency has introduced a number of key roles to implement the changes and is taking a proactive stance to influence the government’s 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review, which has wide implications for future public investment in the region. Explaining why the restructuring was necessary Bernice Law, the NWDA’s newlydesignated Chief Operating Officer, said the Agency wanted an organisation that was “fit for purpose” to deliver the 2006-2009 Regional Economic Strategy (RES). The RES is the action blueprint that will drive the region’s economic growth over the next three years. It contains 122 priorities for action, 45 of which are deemed ‘transformational’. “We are very proud of the RES,” says Bernice. “It’s very focused on what the region has to do to narrow the £13 billion output gap with the rest of England and the Agency wants to ensure it has the right staffing structure to achieve our part of that.” The Agency aims to improve its corporate effectiveness through the creation of two new Directorates and a strengthening of the Operations Directorate.

“WE ARE RESPONDING TO WHAT OUR PARTNERS WANT US TO DO AND MAKING SURE THEY KNOW WHO TO COME TO WITHIN THE AGENCY FOR ALL SUB-REGIONAL INVESTMENT AND STRATEGIC PLANNING DECISIONS. ” BERNICE LAW CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, DEPUTY CHIEF EXECUTIVE, NWDA

Building for the future – NWDA headquarters in Warrington

Patrick White, a former Cabinet Office civil servant who joined the NWDA from the National RDA Secretariat, heads up a new Directorate of Policy and Partnerships with a wide-ranging remit that includes monitoring delivery of the RES, social inclusion, health, research and European policy. Importantly, Patrick’s team will be responsible for strengthening the Agency’s policy function by developing regional policy and influencing national government policy. Establishing good relationships with subregional partners is another critical area of responsibility and each sub-regional partnership and local authority has been given a named point of contact within the Policy & Partnerships team.

NEW TEAM “We are responding to what our partners want us to do and making sure they know who to come to within the Agency for all subregional investment and strategic planning decisions,” says Bernice. Important changes have also been made to the way the NWDA develops and delivers projects and programmes. Two new teams have been created – one to develop projects, and one to ensure delivery, a radical departure from previous practice. “Although they are doing different jobs, they cannot do them in isolation of each other, so they will work alongside each other to ensure that we deliver things on time and on budget and in the way we envisaged,” she adds. Projects will be evaluated and worked up to approval stage by a Development team headed by Paul Lakin, located within an expanded Directorate of Infrastructure and Development led by Peter White. Once approved, projects will be passed over to the Operations Directorate, led by Bernice Law, for delivery by a team skilled in areas such as construction, regeneration and remediation of brownfield land. Alongside them will be a number of specialist project managers who will deal with more complex Agency-owned projects such as Daresbury International Science Park and Kingsway Business Park in Rochdale. The two groups will work under a new Director of Programme, Dave Perkins. The changes, says Bernice, are aimed at “increasing our effectiveness, getting our policy input right, getting the right projects For further information: to bring about transformational change, www.nwda.co.uk delivering them on time and ensuring we spend our money efficiently…” For further information: www.nwda.co.uk


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SKILLS AND EDUCATION NEWS Trade Secretary Alistair Darling has reaffirmed public support for a proposed multicampus University for Cumbria, headquartered in Carlisle. It will open in September 2007 with 15,000 students rising to 20,000 within ten years. Funding is being provided by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to support a number of post-graduate scholarships for part-time industry based students on Lancaster University’s MSc course in Decommissioning and Environmental Clean-up. Researchers at the University of Salford have devised a new interactive computer game that teaches children about designing and constructing buildings. The software is being rolled out in UK schools with the support of the university’s Academic Enterprise division with the object of encouraging children to consider careers in the construction industry.

ENGINE OF THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY

Plans to build a new £23.5 million design academy for Liverpool John Moores University alongside the Metropolitan Cathedral moved a stage closer after the Merseyside Objective One programme approved a £2.5 million grant.

“THE RESEARCH WE ENGAGE IN IS OF, AND FOR, OUR REGION AND HAS TO HAVE AN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL VALUE, RATHER THAN BEING PURELY INTEREST DRIVEN.” PROFESSOR JOHN BROOKS VICE-CHANCELLOR, MANCHESTER METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY

Modern image – the Sandra Burslem Building houses MMU’s School of Law

The university is regarded as a vital cog in the knowledge economy providing the region with business managers, scientists, engineers, teachers, nurses, architects, lawyers and many of those who work in the creative industries. Nearly 70% of graduates stay and work in the Northwest. Increased collaboration with employers will be a cornerstone in the drive to grow the post-professional, post-graduate market. Undergraduate numbers will be held steady and there will be greater focus on bespoke programmes, new flexible modes of teaching including more in-company and on-line delivery. Increasing research funding is a contentious issue for the Vice-Chancellor and his team. MMU has 300 active research staff at a nationally excellent level but receives only £5 million from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). “One aspiration we have is to see that increase but that is incredibly difficult,” explains Professor Brooks. “Research income is governed by the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) which is designed to reinforce the top 20 universities. “We will improve our grades in the next assessment in 2007 but whether we will improve our funding is debatable.”

Rising ambition – the refurbished John Dalton Building

The university has strengthened its research base ahead of the next RAE by appointing six new professors and five senior researchers. Professor Brooks argues that channelling more money to aspirant research centres like MMU is likely to have a bigger impact on regional and UK economic performance than the present narrow focus on the researchintensive universities.

MORE INDUSTRY LINKS MMU has positioned itself as a researchinformed teaching institution and can claim national recognition for a range of research disciplines from chemistry/materials and food science to art and design and sport science. “The research we engage in is of and for our region and has to have an economic and social value, rather than being purely interest driven,” says Professor Brooks who aims to develop more interaction with industry and organisations like the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). A good example is the work Professor Peter Kelly’s surface engineering group is doing with St. Helen-based Pilkington Glass to develop special energy-saving coatings, which can be used to reduce heat loss from cars and homes. A team led by Professor David Raper of MMU’s

FLEXIBLE DELIVERY

Young visitors to this year’s Skills Northwest show at G-MEX, Manchester, (14-16 Nov) will be able to interact with potential career and training advisers. The show will be segmented into zones themed to reflect the sector-based skill needs of the regional economy.

Schools in Wigan and Manchester are to pilot a new interactive online resource that will help teachers interest more young people in manufacturing and improve the grades of students taking manufacturing as a GSCE subject. Teachers are working with The Manufacturing Institute to develop content prior to its launch in January.

How can universities gain a competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace for higher education? Professor John Brooks, newly installed as Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), has a clear view of how his institution should be selling itself. “We are positioning ourselves as the professional university of and for the region with a strong commitment to vocational education and postgraduate study, “he explains. MMU believes that with 50% of 18-year-olds going to university an undergraduate degree will no longer be sufficient to give them the edge in the world or careers and employment. Differentiation, observes Professor Brooks, is more likely to come in postgraduate study and life-long learning. “Most of our graduates will retrain two or three times during their working life and, therefore, we want to place a lot more emphasis on post-professional and post graduate study and make sure we are recognised as world-class in that provision.” Of the 33,000 students at MMU, 9,000 are either postgraduate or post professional. It has the highest number of professionally accredited courses of any university and has a reputation for providing education and training for many of the public sector professions across the region.

Wired up – testing time at the Institute for Human Movement, MMU Cheshire

Centre for Air Transport and the Environment is also playing a lead role in Project OMEGA, a £5 million government-funded initiative to assess the challenges that aviation industries must overcome in the next 50 years.

IMPROVING ACCESS The university has a powerful economic influence on the region. It has a turnover of nearly £200 million, employs 3,500 staff and contributes £700 million into the local economy. Student applications are a measure of its popularity. Last year 50,000 students applied for the 9,000 places on offer making it the fourth most popular university in the UK. Access and widening participation are key priorities and Professor Brooks is particularly proud of the fact that MMU takes more students from disadvantaged backgrounds than any other UK university. MMU is also demonstrating a growing role in regeneration. At Crewe it plans to develop a community campus in a reciprocal arrangement with the town and county councils to provide a 50-metre swimming pool, 12-court sports hall and performance space. For further information: email: m.burge@mmu.ac.uk tel: Marion Burge 0161 247 2192 www.mmu.ac.uk

CAMPUS INVESTMENT PLAN MMU intends to modernise its facilities over the next seven years rationalising its seven campuses to three (All Saints, Didsbury and Crewe), a strategy that will involve £300 million in capital expenditure. One project in the development stage will involve building a glass and steel ‘Public Pavilion’ in Grosvenor Square that will embrace performance exhibition, collection, conservation and creativity. The structure will provide a physical link between a number of iconic locations including the Municipal School of Art, the

existing Capitol Theatre, Chorltonupon-Medlock Town Hall and the Holden Gallery, with a view to promoting Manchester as an international Centre of Excellence for fashion and textile design. Other schemes in the pipeline for All Saints include a new Business School, a new Hollings College campus, which will focus on food and clothing technology, and a new student learning centre.


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SKILLS AND EDUCATION Managing director Brian Parnell looked beyond the bottom line when he decided to invest in training. As head of a company with 25 employees, he assessed the longterm benefits of a workforce skilled in ‘lean manufacture’ against the short-term difficulties of losing man-hours to training. As MD of Preston Technical Ltd, which operates in the rubber and plastics sector, he is taking advantage of a new flagship service, Train to Gain. Designed to help businesses identify their workforce training needs, Train to Gain will then link them with appropriate training providers across the region. The aim of the new service is to create a step-change in the number of businesses starting up in the Northwest and increase the number accessing support. It will also have an increased focus on sectors and businesses displaying the greatest growth potential for the regional economy, as set out in the Regional Economic Strategy.

LONG TERM INVESTMENT The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), along with the existing Business Link suppliers, have been chosen by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) to deliver the service across the region. Brian Parnell says his Business Link adviser

Back to the classroom – in-house training at Preston Technical

ACADEMY FOCUS ON SKILLS TRAINING

TRAIN TO GAIN SERVICE LAUNCHED gave him information about ETP at a time when he was considering business improvement techniques geared to ‘lean manufacture’. “Releasing people for training is not easy in a small business but we looked at it as a long term investment,” he says. “It did affect our profits in the last financial year but it has made a huge difference to a lot of people. They have had exposure to our objectives and two people are going on to take an NVQ Level III.” Kirsty Evans, LSC Skills Development Director – Train to Gain, says it’s about helping employers to look at how training can help them grow and be competitive. “Once we have identified their needs, we can take the hassle out of finding a solution by putting together a relevant training package.”

HIGH STANDARDS

Staff development – training helps company competitiveness

Many small employers, she says, view training as a cost rather than an investment. “We appreciate there are costs involved and in some cases we can make a contribution towards those costs.” Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA, says: “We are confident that we will deliver a service that ensures the highest standard of quality and support for businesses across the Northwest.” He says the choice of the Agency as the preferred provider of the new service, reinforces

A number of key growth sectors in the Northwest are set to benefit from the government’s new National Skills Academies (NSA) initiative. The employer-driven academies for post16 students aim to be world-class centres of excellence established to deliver the skills required by major industry sectors of the economy. Employers are being asked to support the academies financially alongside the government, which plans to invest both capital and revenue funding. The first wave will consist of four academies. A centre of excellence for the food and drink

“WE ARE CONFIDENT THAT WE WILL DELIVER A SERVICE THAT ENSURES THE HIGHEST STANDARD OF QUALITY AND SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES ACROSS THE NORTHWEST.” STEVEN BROOMHEAD CHIEF EXECUTIVE, NWDA

TAILORED CURRICULA

Adding value – academy for financial services

the recent NWDA Board decision to establish a new Business Link delivery service through a single regional supplier in April 2007. “We are determined to ensure clear and integrated services to business,” he says. “This will also help us to support the government’s national strategy to simplify business support services.” Businesses who want help to identify their training needs and source the solutions should contact the Business Link Train to Gain helpline on 0845 602 0062. For further information: tel: 0845 602 0062 www.traintogain.gov.uk

industry (dairy) is to be established at Reaseheath College, Crewe, and others will focus on construction and manufacturing as well as financial services, where over 320,000 people are employed in the region. The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) is working closely with all four. With a shop-front centre in Manchester, the financial services academy, which aims to transform the quality of education and training in the sector, is scheduled to open for business in November. Lucy Courtenay, Standards and Accreditation Director of the Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC) says: “In the Northwest we have had strong employer input through our members and partners, as well as via our regional workshops. “The NWDA and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) have been very supportive and ultimately we aim to extend the academy’s coverage across the whole region.” The main locations are expected to be Manchester, Merseyside and Chester.

Well prepared – food and drink sector is an early winner

Fran Hulbert, Director of Skills Policy for NWDA says: “We welcome the opportunity to influence and support skills academies as one high-profile measure that ensures employers help to create a more competent, well-equipped and effective workforce. “They also aim to match skills developments to current and emerging employment trends and raise the importance of vocational skills.” Graham Fisher, Skills Development Director for the LSC in the region, says: “Financial services is one of the most regulated sectors and the right skills are critical for employers. At the moment, many employees join the sector after training or experience in business administration, and the academy would aim to address the need for more specialist financial training.” The academies will deliver training via specially tailored curricula, using existing

Sharp focus – beefing up construction skills

Production agenda – academy for manufacturing

colleges and private training providers where possible. Plans for the construction academy include proposals to deliver some training on existing sites in the Northwest, rather than creating a new facility. The need for specialist training is highlighted by Construction for Merseyside Ltd (CFM), the initiative launched in March to tackle skills shortages in the industry. Although around 40,000 people are employed in construction in the area, it is estimated up to 3,000 new employees will be needed per year over the next five to 10 years to complete existing projects on time and on budget. Chief Executive of CFM Guy Lawson says: “There is a good influx into the industry but few courses provide site experience which is essential.” CFM is supported by £700,000 of public funding, including £180,000 from the NWDA. The government aims to have 12 academies in place by 2008. The prototype, the Fashion Retail Academy, opened to students last September and is sponsored by the Arcadia Group, Marks & Spencer, Next and Great Universal Stores. For further information: email: jean.llewellyn@nwda.co.uk tel: 01925 644220


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PEOPLE AND JOBS NEWS Progressive developer Priority Sites is working with the NWDA and Liverpool Land Development Company on the Dakota Business Park scheme near Liverpool John Lennon Airport, a project that will create 165 jobs when completed in 2007.

NEW WATERFRONT HOME FOR BBC

MEDIACITY FACTFILE The project will place the Northwest in the vanguard of the global media industry. The first phase will have a number of media-related components including: n A state of the art commercially-run

broadcast studio and a wide range of post production facilities n Media research academy bringing

together 15 North of England universities n Media skills institute, led by industry

professionals, with training courses across the North

Widnes waterfront is to be transformed into a prime business location after the Northwest Regional Development Agency approved funding of £5.6 million for the scheme. The investment is part of a wider masterplan that will create 2,700 new jobs over the next six years.

n Media enterprise centre offering a

wide range of practical support to the independent sector n Huge range of affordable, flexible space

for large and small independents Other parts of the jigsaw include a fiveacre waterfront piazza suitable for outside broadcasts and a footbridge to the Imperial War Museum North.

Work has started on a £5 million business centre opposite Nelson Town Hall, which is expected to bring 300 jobs to the Lancashire town. Part-funded by the NWDA and built by local property developer Barnfield Construction, the 49,000 sq ft scheme is expected to be ready by October 2007. mediacity:uk – a visual impression of the £350 million scheme

Organisations representing Northwest regeneration professionals are to pool their expertise in a new drive to improve the skills and knowledge needed to develop sustainable communities. The initiative, the first of its kind in the UK, has been arranged by RENEW Northwest. Leaders of Merseyside’s Objective One programme have approved funding of £1.2 million to kick start work on English Partnerships’ Lea Green Farm West development on the edge of St. Helens town centre, a business park scheme that could create 130 jobs. Rural businesses in Cumbria, Cheshire and Lancashire are being offered free advice and assistance on development proposals and planning applications for another three years after the NWDA decided to extend the Rural Planning Service to assist rural diversification.

A futuristic plan to build a ‘media city’, anchored by the BBC on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, cleared its first major hurdle when the Salford-based consortium behind the proposal was awarded preferred developer status. Located on 200 acres of former dockland at Salford Quays, the project will bring together a greatly expanded BBC presence with independent companies and new media enterprises to create a dynamic cutting-edge digital hub rivalling the new media cities such as Seoul, Leipzig and Dubai can offer. The £350 million first phase includes construction of two BBC buildings, the most modern broadcast studio complex in Britain that can be shared with other users and a purpose-built recording studio for the BBC Philharmonic. mediacity:uk will also deliver a demandled media skills institute and a media research academy that will allow collaborative interaction between media producers and universities across the North of England. The consortium is stressing the project’s importance as a major media hub for the whole of the North, not just the Northwest. Salford City Council, a consortium partner along with Peel Holdings and Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company, hopes the mediacity:uk project will benefit the city’s

disadvantaged communities. The wider development will include a new City Academy. The main BBC building will be a landmark structure built fronting a scallop-shaped piazza opposite two other modern waterfront icons – the Lowry Centre and Daniel Libeskind’s Imperial War Museum North, now dubbed by City Council Chief Executive Barbara Spicer, as the Manchester city region’s ‘Three Graces’. Confirming in July that mediacity:uk was their preferred choice for the BBC’s move North in 2010, the Governors indicated that a final decision will be based on affordability of the project and a satisfactory outcome to the licence fee negotiations later this year.

DELIVERY PLEDGE The BBC has already approved the transfer of eight departments and 1,500 high quality jobs from London to Manchester. Those making the move include BBC Sport, Children’s BBC (two digital channels), Radio Five Live, Five Live Extra and Research and Development. Developers Peel Holdings, the biggest investor in the project, is in the process of appointing architects for the BBC building and has gone out to tender for a studio operator. Felicity Goodey, Chair of Central Salford Urban Regeneration Company, said the consortium was moving fast to get the

project in a higher state of preparedness. “We cannot take our foot off the accelerator. If we were to wait for all the uncertainty to be removed we would lose several months of valuable planning time. We have pledged to complete the all important first phase by 2010 and we intend to deliver on that.” The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) has indicated it will commit funding of £30 million for basic infrastructure works on the site – the former No 9 dock – because of its importance as a powerful driver of the region’s creative industries sector. It is also working with the other two Northern RDAs (Yorkshire Forward and One NorthEast) to develop mechanisms that maximise mediacity:uk’s potential to benefit creative and digital businesses across the North of England. The consortium claims the project will create employment opportunities for 15,500 people, will be home to 1,150 creative and related businesses, support 1,500 trainee posts a year and add £225 million a year in net value to the regional economy. NWDA Chairman Bryan Gray, who chairs the steering committee set up to co-ordinate the project, says the BBC’s decision “is a significant step forward in achieving an

ambitious vision of a world-class media enterprise zone in Greater Manchester.”

METROLINK STATION When the winning consortium unveiled details of its proposals in May it painted a picture of the BBC relocation being the catalyst for an explosion of innovative new media enterprises nurtured to reality in affordable space in a clean safe and attractive environment. An early work-up of the scheme envisages a floating performance space, public media zones, video wall and an interactive digital infrastructure built into the fabric of the streets and architecture. A new Metrolink station and track extension will be built to serve the site. Landowner Peel Holdings has earmarked 39 of the 200 acres of the scheme for the development’s first phase, which includes a strong commercial and social element comprising high quality offices, 200 apartments, a 200-bed hotel, new niche retail outlets, restaurants, health club, multi-storey car park, NHS walk-in centre and crèche. Peel also has plans to develop an adjoining 50-acre site known as the Broadway Media Park to house those companies wishing to co-locate alongside the BBC complex.

Standing out – the BBC will be housed in an iconic waterfront building

The park will come on stream as the BBC complete their move to the main site in 2010. Talks are well advanced with a number of small independents that want to invest in the clustering potential of mediacity:uk. “They are showing tremendous interest in the project”, says Felicity Goodey. The consortium is also in contact with other broadcasters about setting up production facilities on the Quays. For further information: www.mediacityuk.co.uk


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PEOPLE AND JOBS

RESORT SETS PACE IN THE CASINO STAKES

Conference and casino quarter – nighttime visualisation of the proposed main developments

“There’s a famous seaside town called Blackpool, that’s noted for fresh air and fun.” Golden mile – conference and casino quarter will regenerate the town

The opening lines of Marriott Edgar’s Albert and The Lion still ring true, of course, but the resort will have a new claim to fame if it hits the jackpot and becomes home to the UK’s first regional casino. If Blackpool is successful, the town will be transformed into a world-class resort destination, attracting visitors and conference delegates from across the UK and Europe. After a study of the seven shortlisted towns and cities bidding for the licence, the Casino Advisory Panel (CAP) will make its recommendations to the government by the end of the year and a final decision is expected early in 2007. In its July report, after an initial study of the bids, the CAP placed bookies-favourite Blackpool in the top three, behind Glasgow and London’s Millennium Dome. But in the key category of “need for regeneration”, which the government has emphasised is a vital component of bringing Las Vegas-style gambling to the UK, Blackpool was the only town to score nine out of ten – a clear reflection of the need to secure the town’s future. The resort, first visited in the 18th century by landed gentry wishing to take the waters, recognises that the regional casino would bring massive benefits and act as a cornerstone of its £1.4 billion masterplan. For as well as aiming to make the seaside town – which 20 years ago attracted 17 million visitors each year – once more “a great place to visit”, the aim is definitely to create “a better place to live.” “We are not just concentrating on producing a fantastic environment for people to enjoy as a resort,” says Alan Cavill, Blackpool’s Head of Corporate Policy and Development. “We want to create a great town and an economy for the people who live here.” But the proposed casino, which would account for only 50,000 sq feet of the 23 acre Conference Leisure Quarter (CLQ) planned for the former central station site, would act as a catalyst for investors, developers and

visitors to the resort, he says. It would also include a new conference centre, hotels, leisure ‘pods’ and retail and commercial space. A formal planning application was submitted to the council in August and it is hoped outline approval will be given before CAP makes its recommendations to the government. “Las Vegas demonstrates how casinos and conferences complement one another,” says Doug Garrett, Chief Executive of ReBlackpool, the town’s regeneration driver. “The fact that around 60% of visitors to Vegas do not gamble proves it offers so much more.” Blackpool’s bid has the backing of the

Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and the North West Regional Assembly who recognise the benefits it would bring to the town and the wider region. Doug Garrett says the development would create 20,000 new jobs, many of which would pull in people from the wider region. “We would also be creating a unique worldclass resort for the region. For many visitors we would act as a gateway to the Northwest, giving them the opportunity to explore the major cities and the Lake District as well.” The development of Blackpool’s airport – the site of ReBlackpool’s HQ – is also key to attracting visitors, particularly from northern

SEAFRONT TO BE REMODELLED

People’s playground – six new headlands will be created on the seafront

That famous promenade alongside Blackpool’s ‘seven miles of golden sands’ is about to undergo a 21st century makeover. “It has been Blackpool’s position in life for the last 150 years to shock and awe,” says Alan Cavill, Blackpool’s Head of Corporate Policy and Development. “That’s what we must aim to do again.” The seafront will be transformed, not only by an essential new sea wall, but by the creation of six headlands, 60 metres deep, each offering a different themed area as part of the remodelling of the resort. The idea is to reconnect the town with the sea and the whole seafront. “We are a

seaside resort and we need to give people good reasons to cross four lanes of highway, two lanes of tram tracks and at present a great stretch of black promenade,” says Doug Garrett, Chief Executive of ReBlackpool. There are plans to make it easier to reach the new “meandering” promenade, whose headlands will offer a range of family activities and highlight the town’s maritime and environmental elements. ReBlackpool plans to launch an international design competition for the Central Promenade and a £250,000 development grant by the Big Lottery Fund’s Living Landmarks committee will assist the

Europe and Ireland, says Doug. Already annual passenger numbers have risen from 70,000 two years ago to a predicted 1.2 million by the end of this year. Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA, says the Agency is committed to supporting Blackpool’s regeneration working in partnership with the Council and ReBlackpool to create a world-class destination that attracts visitors from across the globe. “Delivery of ReBlackpool’s Masterplan for the resort, underpinned by a regional casino, is a major economic opportunity for the Northwest.”

development of the ‘People’s Playground’ In August the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) announced funding of £8.2 million to remodel the central seafront. Additional funding of £62 million from Defra and £3 million from the European Regional Development Fund will allow 3.2km of sea wall to be strengthened and renewed as part of a comprehensive coastal protection scheme. For further information: email: info@reblackpool.co.uk tel: 01253 478909 web: www.reblackpool.com

Work in progress – strengthening the sea wall


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PEOPLE AND JOBS Flagship project – Frodsham now has a one-stop shop for council and community

BUILDING A BALANCED ECONOMY Two towns in West Cumbria are on track for a brighter future thanks to a £14.5 million regeneration package that will trigger new jobs, more business opportunities, better leisure facilities and an improved public realm.

Castle Park House – a mansion reborn

MARKET TOWNS REVIVAL Market towns are on the move. No longer cocooned in the cosy Christmas card image, the rural hubs are tackling the 21st century needs of residents and visitors in a vital bid to regenerate their economies. Yes, the towns still boast a variety of thriving markets and festivals but some can also claim new training centres, small business units and one-stop shops offering a range of services. A one-day conference in October will showcase some of the successes of the 17 towns identified to receive funding from the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) under the Market Towns Initiative. Each town – nine in Cumbria, five in Lancashire and three in Cheshire – received around £1 million which in many cases acted as a catalyst for further grants from different agencies both in Europe and the UK. Although each town identified its own specific needs in a ‘healthcheck’ funded by the NWDA and the Countryside Agency, the common concerns ranged across economic, environmental, transport, social and community issues. Steve Heaton, Head of Rural Affairs at the NWDA, who this summer implemented a review of the market towns’ progress, says: “The beauty of this Initiative is that although it is overarching and regional, it allows each town to provide appropriate solutions to its own local economic needs and problems. “It has an overall theme, but it gives the

towns the freedom to develop what is appropriate, without being restrictive.” Millom in Cumbria will celebrate the opening of a new Network Centre in October, a training centre for local businesses and individuals as well as a source of help for aspiring entrepreneurs and business start-ups. Nash Thakker, Millom’s Market Towns Initiative Manager says: “In the past the town has lost a lot of young, talented people because the facilities they wanted were not here. Now, if they have an idea which is marketable, they do not have to leave the town.”

TOURISM PROJECTS The town also has plans to refurbish Millom Palladium, the 1910 theatre in urgent need of renovation. They aim to raise £1.8 million to reduce the capacity of the ground-floor performance area, create a young people’s space in the basement and small income-generating office units on the first and second floors. In Garstang, Lancashire, the NWDA provided £225,000 towards the new £1.4 million Rural Wyre Children’s Centre housing a range of services, which opened in September 2006. A further £10,000 provided a training room, complete with climbing wall open to young people, within the new Bowland Fell Mountain rescue team HQ. Projects to support tourism include building on Garstang’s claim to fame as ‘the

world’s first Fair Trade town’ and a frequent Britain in Bloom award winner. In Frodsham, where the town’s third Christmas festival last year attracted over 15,000 visitors, the flagship project is the renovation of Castle Park House, a mansion house gifted to the town by its private owners in the 1930s. It now houses a One-Stop shop of council and community services, with Small to Medium sized Enterprise (SME) accommodation, which was 75% pre-let before its April opening. For further information: email: steve.heaton@nwda.co.uk tel: 01925 400100 www.nwda.co.uk

Flower power – Garstang in bloom

The investment by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) forms part of an eight-year programme that economic planners hope will transform the fortunes of Workington and Maryport in West Allerdale. Using funding channelled through Cumbria Vision, the Sub-Regional Partnership for Cumbria, the programme aims to create 470 jobs, safeguard a further 680 jobs and assist almost 600 people in gaining employment. It will be led by West Lakes Renaissance. Workington has been trying to build a more balanced economy following the loss of its coal and steel industries and can point to the redevelopment of the town centre as sign of better times ahead.

Time for change – Andy Plant’s ‘Lookout’ clock in Workington town centre

has been a huge success.” The latest £14.5 million funding from NWDA will be targeted at a number of key projects including the production of the Derwent Howe Development Strategy, a direct response to the closure by Corus of its rail track works in Workington. “The big issue for West Allerdale is what to do with the 70-acre site because it is substantially contaminated and has a poor transport infrastructure,” explains Rimmer. The plant closed at the end of August ending 130 years of steel making in the town. Other key components of the “Forward Strategy for West Allerdale” programme will include: n Reclamation of land in the River Ellen

HUGE SUCCESS Due for completion in October, the £45 million scheme by Harrison Developments will provide 27,000 sq metres (250,000 sq ft) of new retail space and apartments creating 500 jobs. Public realm works, funded by the NWDA, have cost a further £2.7 million. “We fundamentally need to transform the West Allerdale economy and that means substantially developing a very weak service sector offer,” says Programme Director Rob Rimmer. “We have made a start with the redevelopment of the town centre and that

corridor in Maryport for use by the private sector and to reconfigure Maryport Harbour to increase the water area and enable the harbour authority to expand and develop leisure facilities. n Development of a Business Improvement

District in Workington to facilitate schemes that will benefit the community. n Key infrastructure work to facilitate

the Derwent Valley Development, Allerdale Borough Council’s new stadium and leisure centre. This will provide a

Pleasure craft – Maryport Harbour is a popular yachting centre

future home for semi-professional and amateur sports due for completion in 2009. David Brockbank, Chairman of Cumbria Vision believes the schemes add ‘real value’ to the West Cumbria Masterplan which is being drawn up after Trade Secretary Alistair Darling invited ideas on how to tackle the serious economic challenges facing the area over the next few years.

AUTUMN LAUNCH Consultants Grant Thornton are undertaking the masterplanning work on behalf on the West Cumbria Strategic Forum, a multipartner group set up to safeguard the area’s economic prosperity. The plan is expected to contain a portfolio of initiatives that could revitalise the local economy and will be launched in the autumn. Cumbria Vision has launched a new portal to help members of the public contribute to the strategy. “We want the people of West Cumbria to be tied into the consultation process. This is not something being imposed on them,” explains Terry Ponting, the Project Manager. For further information: email: rob.rimmer@btconnect.com tel: 01900 64728 www.westlakesrenaissance.co.uk


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INFRASTRUCTURE NEWS Residents have provided the ideas for a £1.4 million facelift of Otterspool Promenade, South Liverpool, which provides one of the best views of the upper estuary. Supported by the NWDA and the European Regional Development Fund, the programme aims to improve the appearance of and access to 1.9 km of coastline. Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander performed the official start of work ceremony for the £175 million scheme to bring the A74 in Cumbria up to motorway status. The 5.8-mile section between Carlisle and Guards Mill will provide the ‘missing link’ in the motorway network between England and Scotland. Construction work on a new £35 million bypass on the A590 in Cumbria has been officially launched by the oldest and youngest residents of the villages of High and Low Newton. The scheme will remove 90% of through traffic restoring the villages to their traditional Lakeland setting. Liverpool Vision is inviting developer ideas for a landmark high quality office building on the Kingston House site at the junction of Strand Street and James Street. The site is regarded as an important opportunity to regenerate an area, which provides a key route between the business district and Liverpool waterfront. Salford will gain one of Europe’s largest parks under an ambitious £4 million scheme to reclaim 97 hectares of brownfield land for amenity use. Funded by the NWDA as part of the Newlands programme, the Lower Irwell Valley Improvement Area (LIVIA) will provide a new green playground in an urban landscape.

INVESTMENT BOOST FOR TRANSPORT NETWORK The region’s drive for prosperity is set to pick up speed after the government approved a provisional £1.245 billion package of investment to improve the Northwest’s transport infrastructure.

After listening to advice from local partners, ministers agreed to progress a number of major projects over the next 10 years, subject to demonstration of a satisfactory business case and costs being kept under control. The decision is a broad endorsement of the region’s own strategic priorities. The schemes will benefit travellers and businesses in each of the five sub-regions and are designed to reduce congestion, improve safety and raise the quality and capacity of public transport. There was good news for transport planners, commuters and shoppers in Greater Manchester with full approval of funding for an upgrade of parts of the

Metrolink system and conditional approval for a major extension to Oldham, Rochdale, Droylsden and Chorlton. Other key projects approved include the A34 Alderley Edge and Nether Alderley Bypass in Cheshire, the Carlisle Northern Development Route in Cumbria and the Mersey Gateway. Two new elements were given approval for the first time. The Department of Transport is to provide £10.7 million of the £11.8 million cost of emergency works to Blackpool’s historic tramway to ensure that the system can keep operating for a number of years. A decision on a larger upgrade will be made at a later date. The Department will also be prioritising the modernisation of traffic management technology in Greater Manchester to reduce congestion and facilitate better and more efficient bus services. The government’s announcement embraces 22 schemes that require funding within the next three years and 14 in the years from 2009/10 to 2015/16. Five of the projects are already underway. Regional partners have welcomed the government’s willingness to take heed of their advice on transport priorities over the next 10 years and are exploring with ministers how future allocations might be extended to include rail investment. Lord Peter Smith, Chair of the Northwest Regional Assembly Executive Board, said

“BY WORKING TOGETHER EFFECTIVELY AND MAKING DIFFICULT DECISIONS THE REGION HAS DEMONSTRATED THAT IT CAN DELIVER.” LORD PETER SMITH CHAIR, NORTHWEST REGIONAL ASSEMBLY EXECUTIVE BOARD

that “by working together effectively and making difficult decisions the region has demonstrated that it can deliver.” English regions were invited in July 2005 to provide advice on their spending priorities as part of the new Regional Funding Allocation (RFA) guidance initiative covering transport, housing and economic development. The process did not include schemes on motorways and trunk roads of national importance or railway schemes other than those promoted by local authorities.

VALUE FOR MONEY Regional transport planners believe that overall the approved projects provide a good fit with the strategic transport priorities in the new Regional Economic Strategy. Over the next decade the government expects to add 15 of the region’s recommended new schemes to the programme. They include completion of the South East Manchester Relief Road, the A556 Improvement and Access to the Port of Liverpool. Bryan Gray, Chairman of the Northwest Regional Development Agency, which played a lead role in the RFA process, stresses the importance of the approved schemes to the economic health of the Northwest. “Improving the quality and provision of the region’s transport infrastructure is fundamental in enabling the Northwest realise its full potential, and this announcement is a result of the region being very clear on its transport priorities.” Construction of the various projects is subject to the schemes securing the necessary statutory powers, demonstrating sufficient value for money and being supported by a satisfactory business case. Projects prioritised for the period 2009 to 2016 range from the A57 Glossop Spur (Tameside) and the M69 JETTS Quality Bus Corridor to the South East Manchester Relief Road (Stockport, Manchester and Cheshire) and the Crewe Rail Gateway. For further information: tel: 01942 737905 www.nwra.gov.uk

NEW METROLINK LINES APPROVED The ‘Big Bang’ expansion of Greater Manchester’s Metrolink tram system is back on track after the government approved revised proposals for the network in July, based on partnership funding. Construction work will be implemented in two stages with the first phase (3a) – for which £538 million has been secured extending the system to Oldham and Rochdale, Droylsden in Tameside and Chorlton in South Manchester The following phase (3b), costing

£450 million, will take Metrolink into Oldham and Rochdale town centres as well as Ashton-under-Lyne, East Didsbury and Manchester Airport. This scheme will form the key part of a bid which is being submitted to the Transport Innovation Fund next year to significantly improve public transport across Greater Manchester. A successful bid will then allow both phases to be delivered simultaneously. Subject to costs being kept within budget, work on the extensions could start within the

next two years. When completed the network will cover nearly 60 miles (95km) and more than double the annual number of passengers to 45 million, taking an estimated 10 million car journeys off the road. Ministers have restored the original offer after the Greater Manchester Passenger Authority agreed to provide the remainder of the partnership funding - £294 million. The majority of the local funding will be raised though loans, which will be repaid over 30 years using Metrolink revenue.


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QUALITY OF LIFE NEWS

Caged lions – work by Rigo 23 outside St. George’s Hall, Liverpool

More Music in Morecambe and Manchester’s Company Fierce were the two winners of the art06 awards, with each receiving a prize of £10,000 at a ceremony in Preston. The awards are sponsored by the Arts Council England, North West, supported by the NWDA and the BBC. Rothay Manor Hotel and Restaurant, a family-run enterprise in Ambleside, won the ‘Small Hotel of the Year’ accolade in the 2006 Cumbria for Excellence Tourism Awards. Bridge End Farm at Boot in the Eskdale Valley scooped the ‘Self Catering Holiday of the Year’ award. Winners of the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourism Awards 2007 included Pleasure Beach, Blackpool (Large Visitor Attraction), Cobble Hey Farm and Gardens, near Garstang (Small Visitor Attraction), The Big Blue Hotel (Large Hotel), Stanley House, Mellor (Small Hotel) and Wolfen Mill Country Retreats, Chipping (Self Catering). Bolton has launched a five-year tourism strategy aimed at boosting visitor spending to £194 million, 10% above the 2004 total. It will build on the tourism attraction of its museum, art gallery and aquarium, and heritage sites such as Smithills Hall, Hall i’th’ Wood and Firwood Fold. It also wants to develop and raise awareness of the town’s nationally important Cultural Quarter. Ruth Mackenzie, Artistic Director of the Chichester Festival Theatre, has been appointed General Director of the 2007 Manchester International Festival with a brief to secure sponsorship deals with commercial and public sector organisations. Liverpool’s preparations for the 2008 Capital of Culture celebrations received a major boost with news that the city’s Tate Gallery will host the prestigious Turner Prize in 2007. The presentation joins a growing portfolio of world class cultural, sporting and business events heading for the city over the next few years.

BIENNIAL CELEBRATES VISUAL CULTURE The Liverpool Biennial pendulum has swung out of the galleries and on to the city streets. For the next two months, Britain’s largest festival of contemporary visual arts is displaying around half of its original commissioned work in outdoor spaces, compared to just 10% at the first Biennial in 1999. It is a conscious move by director Lewis Biggs who views the 2006 event as “a museum without walls.” “We are increasingly addressing the street rather than the galleries,” he says. “What happens within a gallery space is always addressing art history and the art world. You

“WHAT HAPPENS WITHIN A GALLERY SPACE IS ALWAYS ADDRESSING ART HISTORY AND THE ART WORLD. YOU CANNOT ADDRESS LIFE WITHIN GALLERY WALLS AND SO THE ONLY WAY IS TO GET THE ART OUT ON THE STREET.” LEWIS BIGGS, DIRECTOR OF LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL

cannot address life within gallery walls and so the only way is to get the art out on the street.” This year Liverpool is expecting 400,000 visitors to the fourth Biennial, an increase of 50,000 on 2004 when 40% of people travelled from outside the Northwest and 10% from overseas. The event created an additional £8.3 million spend in the city – more than four times the public funding investment. Those figures compare well with Biennials around the world, says Lewis, who has modelled the Liverpool event on Venice, “the granddaddy of Biennials.” “Venice is a festival, with a myriad of exhibitions, and we wanted to adopt that model,” says Lewis. “And we want Liverpool to be for the visual arts what Edinburgh is for the performing arts – we have always seen the ‘fringe’ as being as important as the set pieces.” In the ten weeks to November 26 the exhibition will consist of three elements: International 06, the display of more than 35 new commissions; the John Moores 24 Exhibition of Contemporary Painting, which has been hosted by The Walker Art Gallery since 1957 and the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2006, the annual exhibition by students and recent fine art college graduates throughout the UK. “What is unique about the international

show since 2002 is that we commission all new work,” says Lewis. “If people want to see the work first, they have to come to Liverpool to check it out.” The outdoor art will include Costa Rican artist Priscilla Monge’s football pitch designed as an obstacle course, which will be sited near the Pier Head. Lewis says: “After all, football is designed to be difficult – whoever would invent a ball game where you are not allowed to handle the ball?” Mexican artist Teresa Margolles addresses criminal violence with her pavement of

shattered glass recovered from accident and crime scenes, which will be laid inside a covered walkway in the city centre. A 15 metre high yellow neon question mark by German artist Hans Peter Kuhn will stand on the Cammell Laird building on the Wirral bank of the Mersey, opposite the Pier Head. This year, the John Moores competition, Britain’s leading contemporary painting competition, attracted 2,300 entries, the largest number for 43 years. The event is funded by the Arts Council, Liverpool Vision, Liverpool City Council,

Liverpool 08 and the NWDA. Peter Mearns, NWDA Marketing and Communications Director, says: “The Biennial brings together artists from around the world in a celebration of innovative visual culture. It will showcase Liverpool and the Northwest to the UK and overseas visitors, highlighting this vibrant city’s striking cultural offering.” For further information on the Biennial, which runs from Sep 16 – Nov 26: tel: 0151 709 7444 www.biennial.com

CAPITAL SHOWCASE FOR NW ART

Northern talent – the show attracted London art lovers

Another project to highlight the Northwest’s creative talent was ‘Exposed”, an event held in London’s Manchester Square to showcase the work of ten of the region’s major artists to a capital audience. As well as displaying art work, photography, sculpture and design, the event highlighted the major cultural events in the Northwest’s diary for 2006-08. They include the fourth Liverpool Biennial, which opened in September, next year’s Manchester International Festival, the world’s first of entirely original new work and Liverpool’s European Capital of Culture 2008. Peter Mearns, Director of Marketing and Communications of the NWDA which hosted the evening, says: “Our region is one of the most artistic and culturally dynamic in Europe and Exposed was a prime opportunity to show just how much it has to offer.” Among the work on show were paintings from Turner Prize winner Chris Ofili along with work by the Singh Twins, photography from Kevin Cummins and sculpture by Leo Fitzmaurice. Stephen Snoddy, curator of Exposed, says: “We were delighted to reveal the wealth of creative talent in the Northwest in the run-up to the prestigious events planned for the future which will position the region as an important European cultural destination.”


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QUALITY OF LIFE

ON-LINE FESTIVAL FOR YOUNG TALENT

It’s the first festival of its kind in the UK and it’s coming to a venue near you. That’s because NOISE, the multimedia arts showcase of original work by the under 25s, is an on-line festival with no specific physical location.

Following a successful blueprint from international events in Australia and Singapore, the month-long October festival is showcasing new film, music, fashion, illustration, graphic design, writing, architecture and photography. Director Denise Proctor, who joined NOISE from an impressive background in pioneering entertainment technology, says: “The most important aspect of the festival is that it does not exclude anyone. “You can live in remotest Cumbria, in a city centre, have a disability or lack the funds to go to a traditional arts festival venue and still enjoy NOISE via its website.” The festival, which attracted up to 4,000 submissions from young artists across the UK, was launched at Tate Liverpool in February. Former Home Secretary Jack Straw MP attended an event in his Blackburn constituency to encourage local people to submit their work. NOISE is supported by the Arts Council England North West and the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). Chattering classes – James Purnell MP, festival officials and young talent at the Tate Liverpool launch

Peter Mearns, Director of Marketing and Communications at the NWDA, says: “This festival is a great way of involving young people in the arts in a way which appeals to them. It will also encourage those who are unable or unaware of more traditional routes into the arts to develop careers in the creative industries. Because it is webbased, it uses a medium with which they are totally familiar.”

JOB OFFERS He said that young people in the region could showcase their talents in a festival, which he hoped would develop nationally and internationally. The artists will also be offered the chance to compete for a Dreamjob, being offered by creative companies in industries including music, television and design both in the UK and around the world. International placements, have been offered by MTV in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Yamaha in Tokyo, Current TV in San Francisco. Nearer home, Wayne Hemingway, NOISE Curator for Design and

“WHEN I HEARD ABOUT NOISE I WANTED TO BE INVOLVED BECAUSE IT SEEMS A GREAT WAY TO BRING A LOT OF ARTISTS TOGETHER TO HELP THEM TO DEVELOP AND SHOWCASE THEIR WORK.” EMMA WYRE STUDENT AT BLACKBURN COLLEGE

VIP line-up – Daley Thompson, Lord Coe and Sport Minister Richard Caborn at SportsCity

Cartoon art – work by Emma Wyre

Architecture, has offered six job placements to his favourite NOISE artists. The festival is also being supported by a panel of curators, creative professionals who included Anthony Wilson of Factory Records, designer Wayne Hemingway and Peter Saville of graphic designers Saville Associates, all major Northwest ambassadors. Emma Wyre is a 17-year-old student studying art and design at Blackburn College whose work, which includes cartoon and street art, sketches and drawings and digital animations, will be featured by NOISE. “I have always been interested in art and drawing and I try to work in more obscure areas,” says Emma, currently developing a concept for a comic. “I am inspired by a lot of films and music and particular artists and photographers. “When I heard about NOISE I wanted to be involved because it seems a great way to bring a lot of artists together to help them to develop and showcase their work.” Emma’s work has been chosen for the NOISE exhibition at Urbis, Manchester (Oct 3-Nov 19) and also selected as one of ten artists to feature in a series of NOISE posters to promote the festival across Manchester city centre. For further information: email: info@noisefestival.com www.noisefestival.com

JOINING THE RACE FOR OLYMPIC GOLD Business, tourism, cultural and community leaders across the Northwest were given an insight on how to strike Olympic gold when the organisers of the 2012 London Games made a two-day promotional Roadshow visit to the region. A specially branded bus bearing images of the country’s most famous Olympians and internationally known locations ended a 3,000 mile whistle-stop tour of Britain by visiting the Lake District, Preston, Blackburn, Manchester and Liverpool. Lord Coe, Chairman of the London Organising Committee, who was accompanied by Sports Minister Richard Caborn and gold medal decathlete Daley Thompson, briefed local guests on preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the potential economic and social opportunities

LUCRATIVE CONTRACTS “We hope this Roadshow will help people appreciate just how inspirational the Games can be and the relevance they can have for them and their local communities,” Lord Coe told his audience in Windermere. The Organising Committee has indicated that it will procure an enormous range of goods and services required for the Games, including sports equipment, uniforms, food and drink, furnishings for venues, cars and hotel accommodation. This is in addition to the construction contracts being let by the Olympic Delivery Authority. Companies throughout the Northwest are being urged to register their interest in finding out about the lucrative contracts on offer by accessing a newly launched online business service via www.london2012.com/business

“We are working hard to develop structures to support the delivery of London 2012 and the Roadshow visits really gave those working in tourism, business culture and sport the opportunity to hear about these potential benefits for themselves,” says Sheldon Phillips, Partnership Marketing Manager at the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). More than 100 people attended the Windermere event including Tom Wright, Chief Executive of Visit Britain and Felicity Goodey, Chair of the Tourism Forum for England’s Northwest. The Lake District features strongly in the international marketing for 2012. Lord Coe and his team met regional business leaders at a breakfast briefing at

Preston North End’s Deepdale ground before going on to meet civic leaders at Blackburn and at Darwen where £9 million is being invested in sports facilities. Later they went on view the region’s top sporting venues with visits to Manchester United FC’s Old Trafford ground – a 2012 football venue – and the City of Manchester Stadium, the main venue for 2002 Commonwealth Games.

EXTRA PLAN The 21-day tour of Britain ended with a spectacular display of fireworks, streamers and confetti in Liverpool after an afternoon of cultural and sporting activities to mark the sixyear countdown to the 2012 opening ceremony, Regional partners have set up a 2012 steering group and are already working on a number of ideas to be incorporated in a Northwest Action Plan, including a possible bid to stage the UK School Games between 2007-11. The NWDA has established a Business Forum to provide a ‘sounding board’ for business issues relating to the Games and is planning to recruit a Regional Coordinator to help maximise the opportunities generated by the Games. For further information: email: sheldon.phillips@nwda.co.uk tel: 01925 400 100 www.london2012.org

Welcoming party – young sporting hopefuls at a Roadshow event


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NOTEBOOK

PEOPLE IN THE REGION

Role models – Brian Wong and Nighat Awan

Ethnic business forum leaders New leaders have been announced for the Ethnic Minority Business Forum North West (EMBF NW), which was set up by the NWDA in 2005 to boost the contribution of ethnic businesses to the regional economy. Dr Nighat Awan, Chief Executive, Shere Khan Group has been appointed as the new Chair of the Forum with Brian Wong, Finance Director, Hondo Trading, as the new Vice-Chair.

Johnson set to Market Manchester Nick Johnson, Deputy Chief Executive at Urban Splash, is the new Chairman of Marketing Manchester, the Tourism Board for Greater Manchester. He replaces former corporate banker John Maguire who has retired after five years at the helm. A chartered surveyor by profession, Johnson has wide experience of design in the built environment having worked with various leading UK and overseas architects. He is currently responsible for projects worth over £150 million including the 3rd Millennium Community project. He is also a Director of Castlefield Gallery, one of Manchester’s leading contemporary galleries and a regional representative for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

Academy names Director Garden is ripe for learning Business start-up specialist Andrew Brocklehurst is the new Director of the recently established Northern Leadership Academy (NLA), a £5 million project to build a more entrepreneurial North by strengthening leadership provision and development. Developed by the NWDA in collaboration with Yorkshire Forward and One NorthEast and based at Lancaster University, the Academy is a key component of the Northern Way Growth Strategy. Andrew has a strong record in businessstarts ups and incubation. He created and led West Yorkshire Ventures before running the West Yorkshire Incubation Network, a Yorkshire Forward project to improve new business formation. He is a former business angel, founding two start-up businesses. The NLA is led by a consortium including Lancaster University Management School, Leeds University Business School and the University of Liverpool Management School. One of its aims to attract talented individuals back to the North.

Chef and TV presenter Anthony Worrall Thompson had a unique opportunity to spread the message of healthy eating when he unveiled an innovative, awardwinning show garden at the RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park, along with Bryan Gray, NWDA Chairman. Commissioned by the NWDA, the garden was designed and created by landscape architects Urban Vision with the help of children from Radclyffe Community Primary School and St Clements Primary School in Salford. The garden, an ongoing educational

project, will be installed at a new £6 million school in September 2007 formed by a merger of the two schools. The design incorporates produce that can be grown to prepare healthy meals and will also serve as an external classroom.

Young Apprentice of the Year Trainee engineer Matthew McCarry from St. Benedict’s School, Whitehaven, has been named as Britain’s ‘Young Apprentice of the Year’ at the Learning and Skills Council’s 2006 National Apprentice Awards. He started his Young Apprentice in Engineering programme in 2004 as part of the Grow Your Future Workforce project, an NWDA-funded collaboration with United

Utilities, Scottish Power, and regional schools and colleges to create a new generation of young engineers for the electricity industry. Matthew has won the Engineer of the Year award at St. Benedict’s in three consecutive years. He also coaches young squash players and has recently become the youngest qualified England coach – three days after his 16th birthday.

Watson to head up Business Link Winning ways – Helen Colley with TV presenter Lucy Meacock and Professor John Moverley

Helen cooks up more awards Clitheroe-based luxury puddings producer Helen Colley who owes her success to recipes handed down through the family has notched up another raft of business awards for her mouthwatering products. Helen’s latest award is that of ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in the Chamber Awards North West Region, making her a finalist in the Chamber’s national awards on November 23. In June, Farmhouse Fare, the company

she founded in 2002 after the Foot and Mouth crisis badly affected her previous enterprise and her parents’ farm, was given the NWDA-sponsored ‘Most Outstanding Contribution to the Northwest Region’ accolade at the 2006 Food Northwest Awards. Farmhouse Fare now has sales of £4.9 million, employs 70 people and has been a source of inspiration for farmers and business in Lancashire. Helen is also a finalist in the National Business Awards in November.

Chris Carr to lead U4C

Joyous company – Anthony Worrall Thompson (centre)

Peter Watson, a former senior executive in the UK and European print industry who has an MBA from the Henley Management College, is to take control of the new £18 million Business Link service for the Northwest.

Professor Chris Carr is to be the new Vice Chancellor of the University for Cumbria. He will remain as Principal and Chief Executive of St Martin’s College, Britain’s biggest teaching college, until the new multi-campus university is formed in August 2007. Based in Carlisle, it will start life with students drawn from the three founding institutions, St. Martin’s College, the Cumbria Institute of the Arts and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Professor Carr has spent the whole of his career in higher education. He was formerly Head of the School of Law and subsequently Pro Vice Chancellor at UCLan before moving to St. Martin’s in 1997 where he has overseen a large programme of expansion.

He took up his duties as Managing Director of the new service in September and will manage the transition from the current Business Link set-up to the new service, which will become operational from 1 April 2007. The restructured Business Link aims to achieve a step-change in the number of business start-ups in the region and increase the number of business accessing support. It will have an increased focus on those businesses and sectors showing the greatest growth potential.


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EVENTS

EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

GETTING IN TOUCH At the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), we value your views and feedback. Visit www.nwda.co.uk & www.visitenglandsnorthwest.com

KEY CONTACTS

For further information www.nwda.co.uk/events OCTOBER

16

16– 26

Inspiring tomorrow’s entrepreneurs The Filmworks, Manchester Printworks

LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL

Contemporary arts festival embraces the big outdoors Over 40 venues

22-23 NOV

NWDA ANNUAL CONFERENCE OCT AND AGM

22-25

Review of the year’s achievements Manchester International Convention Centre MANCHESTER FOOD & DRINK FESTIVAL Festival that caters for all tastes Various venues

OCT

11

OCT

MARKET TOWNS CONFERENCE

Spotlight on rural enterprise Lancaster House Hotel, Lancaster

24

OCT

NORTHWEST TOURISM AWARDS

Plaudits for the industry’s top achievers Hilton Hotel, Manchester

B2B NORTHWEST (INCORPORATES BEX)

Star turn – Bob Geldof is a speaker at the B2B Northwest event

31 – 2

OCT NOV

NOV

EUROCITIES CONFERENCE

European civic leaders share their ideas Manchester International Conference Centre

MANUFACTURERS SUMMIT

UK/US manufacturers share their ideas Manchester United FC

NOVEMBER 1

OPENING OF NATIONAL NOV BIOMANUFACTURING CENTRE Another ‘first’ for the Northwest Speke, Liverpool

9

LAUNCH OF NORTHWEST CLIMATE NOV CHANGE ACTION PLAN

DECEMBER 1

DEC

BERNICE LAW Chief Operating Officer, Deputy Chief Executive

FRAN HULBERT Director of Skills Policy

IAN HAYTHORNTHWAITE Executive Director, Finance and Corporate Resources

PETER MEARNS Director of Marketing and Communications

MARK HUGHES Executive Director, Enterprise, Innovation and Skills

FIONA MILLS Director of HR, Organisational Change & Development

PETER WHITE Executive Director, Infrastructure and Development

PATRICK WHITE Director of Policy and Partnerships

CBI NW BUSINESS AWARDS

Oscars for the region’s business heroes Hilton Hotel, Manchester

4

DEC

BBC NORTHWEST SPORTS AWARDS

Putting athleticism on a pedestal Hilton Hotel, Manchester

HEAD OFFICE

Regional solutions to combat global warming City of Manchester Stadium

11-19 NOV

The NWDA manages all operations from its Headquarters at:

KENDAL MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVALS

Heady mix of film screenings, book readings and lectures Various venues, Kendal

14-16 NOV Ready for business – the National Biomanufacturing Centre, Speke

JAMES BERRESFORD Director of Tourism

Advice and inspiration to growing businesses G-MEX, Manchester

4

6-16

NEXT BIG THING

STEVEN BROOMHEAD Chief Executive

HEAD OFFICE PO Box 37, Renaissance House, Centre Park, Warrington WA1 1XB Tel: +44 (0)1925 400 100 Fax: +44 (0)1925 400 400 e-mail: information@nwda.co.uk

SKILLS NORTHWEST

Region’s largest interactive careers exhibition for young people G-MEX, Manchester

Kendal Mountain Festivals – tales of derring-do

PRINT STOCK: Cover: Challenger Laser Matt is totally chlorine free and acquired only from suppliers operating sustainable forest reserves. Text: Cyclus offset is manufactured using only 100% recycled post consumer waste.

Designed and produced by Kaleidoscope ADM, Liverpool. www.kadm.co.uk NWDA KADM 09/06 20039

SEP NOV

NOV

The NWDA’s Executive Team are based at its Headquarters and can be contacted on tel: +44 (0)1925 400 100


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