Kevin Maton – Coventry City Councillor – cabinet member for Business Enterprise and Employment
This is my first visit to MIPIM as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire MIPIM Partnership, and my first impressions are certainly that it is bigger than I expected.
Essentially it is a market place, and it has the same traits as any other market. Yes there are people eating and drinking and talking, but they are very much networking and doing business.
The other impression is that it is much more than about simply looking for property investment. On my first evening and morning I talked to more people about sustainability and the role of Cities as centres of economic growth than I did about property per se.
The recent cities report which hammered home that if you want to grow then you have to locate that growth close to centres for obvious reasons. From what I have found here, that is being accepted the world over not just in the UK.
Cities represented here have different opportunities and pressures. Many have a great deal of space which can be exploited, something which as a city we clearly do not have! Some of the scaled models of proposed developments are mind-boggling, and there are people here looking for investment for some seriously large developments.
I believe that we have got our presence perfectly pitched. Our stand is large enough to draw visitors, we have had a good range of events on the stand while, at the same time, we have used the business lounge for one-to-one or smaller meetings.
I have been to several of those – even though I have not yet been here 24 hours – again they have been useful.
We met one major house builder and it was clear that we were thinking along similar lines. The mass house building market has an image problem. There is a perception that they build the same, box styled properties wherever they are developing.
But now there is a realisation that they have to go for quality – in terms of design – and create developments which suit their surroundings.
We are also keen to drive up the quality of design in anything we do, so we really welcome that new approach and it is something which we will keep pushing with all the developers we meet.
We have three major events in the next 24 hours which again will draw people to our stand and allow us to keep plugging the opportunities which exist in Coventry and Warwickshire.