Two more panel members announced for North East devolution breakfast

Developer Fergus Trim and Luke Raikes, from the IPPR North think tank, will be on the panel at event organised by The Journal

Fergus Trim, Broadoak Asset Management director
Fergus Trim, Broadoak Asset Management director

Two more panel members for the Journal’s devolution breakfast can be announced.

Fergus Trim, director of Broadoak Asset Management, which runs the Quorum Business Park, and Luke Raikes, a research fellow at the IPPR North think tank, will be taking questions from the audience at the event at the Marriott Hotel in Gosforth on April 21.

Also on the panel will be Simon Henig, leader of Durham County Council and chair of the North East Combined Authority, and Dianne Sharp, regional director of the CBI.

Hosted by The Journal and its sister paper on Teesside, The Gazette, the breakfast has been organised to keep the future of the region high on the political agenda in the run-up to May’s General Election.

Durham Council leader Simon Henig
Durham Council leader Simon Henig

It comes as public and private bodies are pushing for the North East to be given greater say over how it is run, though there are also concerns that the region is being left behind as devolution moves at a faster pace in Scotland to the north and Greater Manchester to the south.

Mr Trim - who will be representing event sponsors Developing Consensus - said: “The North East has a great inward investment offer and at Quorum we have successfully landed several high profile job creating projects including Tesco Bank, Balfour Beatty and Cofely.

“Devolution should give us an opportunity to further strengthen this offer - if it can be managed in the right way.”

Mr Raikes, who has authored a number of reports on regional devolution for IPPR North, said: “We have grown accustomed in this country to being governed from the distant centre and the disappointment which often results. We’re amongst the most centralised of developed countries, and polling has shown that 59% of people think that decisions on public services would be better made locally, while only 14% think they’re better made nationally.”

The event is being organised in conjunction with Developing Consensus, a private and public partnership set up to tackle issues around the future of the Newcastle area.

Members of the group include some of the main players in the regional development sector, including the Hanro Group, Bond Dickinson, Ryder Architecture, Clouston Group, Carrillion PLC, Quorum Business Park and RICS

The event takes place on April 21, from 7.30am to 10am.

More panel members will be announced next week.

* To reserve your table/tickets, log onto or contact Jennifer Lee, event manager, on 0191 2016168 or email


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