Insights - 05.05.22

Chris Oglesby: ‘A thriving economy that’s inclusive, green and culturally vibrant.’

Our business has a purpose of creating thriving towns and cities, and when I look to 2030, I see Greater Manchester as a collection of thriving towns and cities. Wealth used to be in the suburbs, but this has been reversed through the growth of the service industry, however we now need to achieve a balance. I believe that we’re in for a ‘K shaped recovery’ where there will be a steady period of growth but there will be some big winners and big losers.

To achieve a balance of town and city success, we need two strands to drive us there: places that will boost our economy through innovation, as well as the hyperlocal community driven economies that are getting ‘back to basics’ such as Stretford and Altrincham. The same can be said on the national scale. We have got to be focused on driving the UK economy as a global powerhouse, but we need to level up in order to keep democracy together.

Manchester is in a good place to win both games. We know how to drive innovation and take the wider population with us at the same time. We have a strong city, but also a network of connected towns that are ready to be reinvigorated.

We’ve launched a new project, ‘Innovation Greater Manchester’ which puts us in a great position to do this. It takes innovation centres of excellence, including the Oxford Road Corridor, which is the most significant innovation centre by scale and density in the country, along with the digital economy of Manchester, and links them with enterprise in our town centres and surrounding industrial parks. We believe we will see more onshoring and near market manufacturing, which will be primarily delivered through innovation, which gives us advantages over low-cost labour locations.

It’s as much about developing the ecosystem as it is the physical clustering, building upon proximity, density and collaboration, as well as making thematic links across the North to create a real Powerhouse

Ultimately, my vision for Greater Manchester in 2030 is that it will come out of the fallout from the Fourth Industrial Revolution with a thriving innovative economy that’s inclusive, green and culturally vibrant.

Chris Oglesby, CEO, Bruntwood