Forum is like the Fringe for people with money - John McLellan

Edinburgh City Council's Director of Place, Paul LawrenceEdinburgh City Council's Director of Place, Paul Lawrence
Edinburgh City Council's Director of Place, Paul Lawrence
It’s not everyone’s idea of a grand day out, but the UK Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum in Leeds next week is a vast jamboree for the commercial property world where if deals aren’t struck everyone has a very good time talking about them.

Over three days there are hundreds of presentations and panel discussions jostling for attention, like the Fringe for people with money, and among them is a delegation from Edinburgh who have one hour on Wednesday to sell their vision of opportunity in the west of the city.

“West Edinburgh has long been predicted as the place where the continued growth of Edinburgh can be realised – and now it’s happening,” says the blurb. “Listen to how the main land holders are preparing the city for the most significant and exciting growth in decades.”

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Barring accidents, like legal threats from Edinburgh Airport about their access road, planning permission must be in the bag, and it’s also one of Paul Lawrence’s last acts as Edinburgh City Council’s Director of Place before he steps up to become Chief Executive in June, and the expansion west could yet come to define his time in charge.

In an unusual display of developer unity, he will join a panel discussion hosted by property consultants JLL along with board members from Crosswind Developments, Drum Property Group and the Robertson Group. Intriguingly, for an event promoting West Edinburgh to the UK’s investment markets, the panel also includes Edinburgh Southern MSP Daniel Johnston. Presumably Edinburgh Western Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton wasn’t available.