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Lambert Smith Hampton
Black Country Chamber of Commerce
Commercial Property Recovery
The Yorkshire cities of Leeds and Sheffield need to work hard to ensure they do not lose their tier one status when it comes to being hubs for investment, a property consultant has said. Head of national property consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton in Yorkshire Guy Gilfilan told the Business Desk that there is a danger that the cities will need significant property investment to remain in the top group of business locations when the recovery comes, as the number of such cities will fall. He stated: "The regeneration and development activity will be focused on a fewer number of locations. Both Yorkshire cities of Leeds and Sheffield are having to turn and focus on their profile and their wins because it's going to be very important to secure those few economically significant property requirements that are out there." Mr Gilfilan warned that the two cities may miss out because they do not have the effective regional organisation to attract investment that places such as Scotland have. He noted one problem is the abolition of regional development agencies in England, with the local enterprise partnerships created to replace them developing "massively", but currently "really still not there" in terms of attracting new investment. The expert based his projections on the view that the commercial property sector is now starting to recover, although he suggested overall economic revival will be gradual and patchy. Another urban area facing concerns about being in the slow lane for investment and development is the Black Country. The Black Country Chamber of Commerce has argued that the area - a cluster of towns plus the City of Wolverhampton to the north and west of Birmingham - has fallen well behind its big city neighbour, despite having a similar combined population. Its president Paul Bennett argued that while development power has been devolved from Whitehall to major city authorities and the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland administrations, the Black Country has been sidelined. He suggested having one unitary authority instead of four boroughs could help the sub-region catch up.
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