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News - 20/11/2015

Enterprise Award: Innovation districts can deliver on the promise of devolution and the Northern Powerhouse

Innovation districts can drive economic growth and ensure the Northern Powerhouse and UK-wide devolution are successful, according to the judges and partners of the Lambert Smith Hampton Enterprise Award, made up of leading figures from the property industry.

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In selecting Sheffield City Region’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) Partnership as the winner of the £15,000 Award, the panel highlighted the proposals as an example of how developing industry clusters can deliver economic growth, employment and community regeneration.

The group also called on authorities within the Northern Powerhouse and other cities seeking devolved powers to see the AMID Partnership as a model for regional development. 

Chosen by industry leaders

The Lambert Smith Hampton Enterprise Award judging panel was chaired by Ezra Nahome, CEO of Lambert Smith Hampton, and includes:

  • Melanie Leech – CEO, the British Property Federation
  • Sir Edward Lister - Deputy Mayor, Greater London Authority
  • Tom Bloxham MBE - Founder and Chairman, Urban Splash
  • Waheed Nazir - Director of Regeneration, Birmingham City Council
  • Liz Hamson - Editor, Property Week
The call is also echoed by:
  • Jeremy Blackburn, Head of Policy at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • James Newman, Chairman of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

As well as voting the AMID Partnership submission as the winner of the Award, the judges chose entries from graduate surveyor Daniel Campbell and entrepreneur Peter Carstensen, and planner Thaddaeus Jackson-Brown as runners-up.

A new type of partnership

The AMID Partnership seeks to build on the city’s industrial heritage, using devolved powers and funding to revitalise the city’s manufacturing sector. The scheme links innovative growth firms, local authorities, private developers, universities and NHS Trusts into a powerful industrial cluster, with a focus on land and property uses that directly support the growth of high-value companies, the development of world-leading skills, particularly among young people, and the creation of vibrant new living and leisure spaces.

The judges of the Lambert Smith Hampton Enterprise Award highlighted that a successful modern industrial cluster depends on access to the best human capital. The AMID Partnership recognises this and has been planned to maximise the area’s human resources.

As a result, the Innovation District concept, which can be translated to other regions and sectors, incorporates investments and developments in health, education, homes and transport, alongside commercial property.

It is this integrated approach, developed by property professionals with local knowledge to take advantage of newly devolved funding and powers that allows the model to have the greatest economic and social impact. This approach is reflected in the make-up of the AMID Partnership, which brings together The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, Harworth Estates, Sheffield Business Park, Sheffield City Council and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.

A model that can be used elsewhere

Chairman of the judges Ezra Nahome, CEO of Lambert Smith Hampton, said this kind of innovative thinking is vital if devolution and the Northern Powerhouse are to prove a success: “The AMID Partnership is a fantastic example of how the property industry can use fresh-thinking to support enterprise. The Innovation District model shows a real understanding of how to drive growth in today’s economy and demonstrates a commitment to doing whatever it takes to get the right result. Other cities need to replicate this integrated approach if the UK is to deliver on the promise of devolution and the Northern Powerhouse.”

Iain Thomson and Graham Sadler from the winning AMID Partnership, said: “The property industry has a key role in supporting high-value industries to grow; this is the only sustainable way of making the UK more economically competitive.

Making the most of devolution opportunities

“Powers and monies from Sheffield’s devolution deal will go towards building on what’s already been achieved at the Advanced Manufacturing Park and Sheffield Business Park, where the University of Sheffield’s collaborations with Rolls-Royce, Boeing and others have led to significant advances in the way those firms manufacture their products.  We will use devolution as a tool to put in place the infrastructure and support required to deliver the next generation of advanced manufacturing space for original equipment manufacturers and their supply chains, whilst developing high-quality living and leisure spaces within the district.

“We believe we can create something special out of devolution, and we call on other professionals within the industry to do the same.”

Melanie Leech, CEO of the British Property Federation, said the property industry can take a leading role in implementing regional devolution deals: “Given that today’s economy is based on knowledge and skills, it is clear that economic development relies on cities releasing the potential of their people. The property industry has an important role to play here and it is encouraging to see that organisations such as the AMID Partnership and the other Enterprise Award entrants are rising to the challenge.”

Huge potential in the North

Tom Bloxham MBE, Founder of Urban Splash, said: “The North has huge potential to be an economic powerhouse and devolution is a major opportunity for the region. The Sheffield AMID partnership is a great example of innovative thinking that will help Northern cities to reach their full potential.”

Sir Edward Lister, Deputy Mayor at the Greater London Authority, commented: “Devolution is a real game-changer for London and major cities across the country and it vital that we all grasp the scale of the opportunity and use it to benefit local communities. The AMID Partnership is an example of how greater regional control can help our cities to thrive and prosper.”

A worthy winner

Speaking about the LSH Enterprise Award shortlist, Waheed Nazir, Director of Regeneration at Birmingham City Council, commented: “There is huge excitement around the country about the opportunities devolution could bring. The Lambert Smith Hampton Enterprise Award has brought out some really creative and enterprising thinking about how new powers could be used to support regional growth and development. The AMID Partnership is a worthy winner from a very strong set of entries.”

Liz Hamson, Editor of Property Week, added: “The Lambert Smith Hampton Enterprise Award has highlighted the strength of talent and expertise in our sector. It has also brought to life the opportunity of devolution, arguably the biggest change facing the industry today.”


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