Main photo: L to R – Cathy Parker, Institute of Place Management; Pete Bradshaw, Manchester City Football Club; Ciara Keeling, Bruntwood; Mike Thomas, Grant Thornton; Nick Johnson, Altrincham Market/Mackie Mayor NQ.
In the last 20 years we have seen a complete transformation of UK regional cities, with decades of industrial decline replaced by flourishing regeneration schemes and booming popularity. Our regional centres have progressed beyond the best hopes of civic leaders in the 1970s and 80s when riots and urban decay were commonplace. And yet our cities still face big challenges – especially around making regeneration happen outside the core shopping and business districts.
This reality sat behind a debate Influential hosted with Grant Thornton, one of the country’s leading business advisory groups, and Manchester Metropolitan University in the summer.
In this short film some of the participants offer reflections on what they have learnt during their careers in property, retail and academia – led by the entrepreneur Nick Johnson, whose inspired reimagining of Altrincham Market as an independent food and drink destination has won widespread acclaim. In his career Nick Johnson has taught at Yale, chaired Marketing Manchester and served as a commissioner for Chartered Association of Building Engineers. He was a director of the developer Urban Splash for 15 years before taking the plunge with his vision for his home town.