Former Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine is set to visit Nottingham today where he will discuss the future of the UK’s ‘outer city estates’ with the city’s key players in industry, business and the media.
He is the guest of Nottingham North MP Graham Allen and the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership. The day of discussion and Q&A will be based at New College Nottingham’s Basford Hall campus which is about to become a major focus for regeneration in the area following a £27m investment in a brand new facility.
Lord Heseltine and Mr Allen have previously worked together on the 2012 report ‘Keys to the City: Unlocking Urban Economies through Devolution’ which called for a greater transfer of power from central Government to the UK’s Core Cities, such as Nottingham.
As Chair of the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee, Mr Allen is now continuing the debate by achieving cross-party support for his vision to ‘rebalance’ the many estates which exist on the edge of cities across the UK, similar to those in his constituency like Basford, Aspley and Bulwell, which he believes have ‘lost their identity’ since the loss of major employers such as Raleigh and the mining and textile industries.
An initial brainstorming session involving leaders from the worlds of local Government and industry took place at ncn Basford Hall in March, and this event will open up the discussion to the wider business community.
Lord Heseltine will initially be meeting with Mr Allen, Cities Minister Greg Clark MP, Peter Richardson, Chair of the LEP and David Ralph, the LEP CEO and Dawn Whitemore, ncn’s Principal and CEO.
Initial discussions will focus on the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan and looking over the architects plans for the redevelopment of ncn Basford Hall.
This will be followed by a tour of the area and a visit to some local community employment projects, before a meeting with business leaders and a ‘Meet Lord Heseltine’ Q&A session later in the day chaired by Peter Richardson.
Graham Allen MP said: “The purpose of day is to take the ‘rebalancing the outer estates’ project further in Nottingham North. The idea is to work with all local partners including the LEP, the Big Lottery, the council and the voluntary and community sectors and others to rebuild the skills and employment base of Nottingham North and constituencies like it across the country. This will be a slow and careful partnership to ensure that our young people can look forward to a productive future. The role of business in investment is vital in all this and I hope the presence of Michael Heseltine will be the catalyst to involve them on Tuesday.”
David Ralph said: “We fully support the proposals being developed to re-balance our outer city estates in order to tackle social problems and bring about sustainable change.
“It has been submitted to Government as part of our Strategic Economic Plan. We will bring partners together to tackle the issues faced by these estates and demonstrate how the economic growth we are striving to achieve can benefit some of our more challenged communities.
“Much good work already takes place and much is planned. We intend to build on that but not substitute for it. All partners would be clear that additionality would be our watchword.
“The rebalancing outer city estates programme demonstrates not only the LEP’s commitment to growth but also to ensuring that growth reaches out to all communities. It will provide a best practice, evidence-based example for our area, our region and for England of how the strategy of a LEP economic plan can both contribute nationally to detail on urban policy and locally to some of our most challenged areas.”
Dawn Whitemore said: “We are delighted that ncn Basford Hall is the focal point for such an important discussion. As north Nottingham’s local college, ncn has a key role to play in regenerating the area and ensuring its young people have a positive and prosperous future ahead. No one organisation can make this happen alone, which is why it is so important to get those who can be a real catalyst for change in the same room. ncn is fully committed to doing all it can to ensure that the new Basford Hall is a driver for economic growth in Nottingham north and beyond, making a tangible difference to people’s lives.”