The announcement last week that the 12 local councils in the North East and Teesside have established a partnership with the culture sector comes as good news and is a significant step.
The cultural sector is hugely important for the North East, supporting 50,000 jobs, a £7bn economy and one million visitors a year. The Culture Partnership is made up of the councils and representatives from arts, sports, business and education. It is hoped that by working together they can make more of what the region has to offer.
I’m sure you remember the Passionate People, Passionate Places campaign launched by the regional development agency ONE North East. The campaign was a powerful promoter of the region so when the RDA was ditched and the campaign died it was felt deeply. For those of us concerned about the growth of the economy this was extremely important. So I welcome the Culture Partnership.
It is the second public-private partnership formed recently, both of which can help grow the economy. The first was formed between the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NE LEP) and the 11 firms of chartered surveyors who make up the group G9. They are preparing a database of strategic sites and premises to display information about the availability and delivery of land and premises.
This will make it easier for companies and developers looking for sites that meet their needs. Both are excellent strides forward – and now we need to take the next important step!
As regular readers will know, I have sought to create a campaign to establish a Marketing Partnership among the seven North East councils – becoming a Combined Authority and known as the LA7 – in conjunction with the NE LEP and the private sector. With property and construction people at its heart, a Business Development Partnership would be a powerful tool to attract inward investors and assist new and existing businesses in the region.
This would bring a clear focus to the economic development element of the LA7 plan for the Combined Authority. It would also bolster construction, which is ‘on its back’ as one observer described it recently, and boost the property sector which needs strengthening to attract investors.
:: Kevan Carrick is a partner at JK Property Consultants LLP, the policy spokesman for RICS North East, and member of both G9 and the NE LEP Investment Fund Panel.