Damian Wild
Estates Gazette (EGI)
27 September 2014

Be careful what you wish for

It was inevitable that devolution would dominate party conference season. It happened at the Labour Party shindig in Manchester this week and it will be repeated when the Tories gather in Birmingham this weekend.

Whatever the result, the Scottish referendum was always going to cast a long shadow.

Whether it’s answering the West Lothian question or delivering “Devo-Manc”, the precise shape of the UK’s federal future is unclear. But at a private dinner at the Labour conference, attended by some of the UK’s best-known developers and the leaders of some of its biggest local authorities, there was a clear message: without meaningful devolution, regeneration and growth in many parts of the country will fail.

The dinner was the latest Big Think debate staged by Mishcon de Reya and consultancy Central, and the first supported by Estates Gazette. Peter John, Julian Bell and Claire Kober – leaders of the London boroughs of Southwark, Ealing and Haringey respectively – were among the guests, as were Exemplar’s Dan Van Gelder, Urban Splash’s Tom Bloxham, Cathedral Group’s Martyn Evans and Essential Living’s Darryl Flay and Martin Bellinger.

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