UKREiiF Advisory Group chair Lord Kerslake has held a variety of roles within the built environment industry during the last two decades, including Chair of housing association Peabody and Be First (the growth and regeneration agency for Barking and Dagenham). Here he outlines why the time is right for UKREiiF

I’ve been involved in development and regeneration for over 20 years now both in local government and national government and through the creation of the Homes and Communities Agency.

In all that time it seemed to me incredibly important there are vehicles in which the investment community can meet with the development community and can meet with the public sector to talk about regeneration and development, specifically to talk about individual projects of cause but also about where the industry is, how trends are moving and particularly where the opportunities lie for the future.

So there has been a need for something like UKREiiF for a long time I think we have all been involved in events that have majored in this agenda of networking, conference events and conversations about the future development opportunities.

So the need is there but what we’ve lacked in the UK is home-grown event, forum and conference where we can have these conversations and I think it is also fair to say we have a lacked a vehicle by which we can have these conversations in the context of zero carbon, sustainability and in a more inclusive and diverse way. What we’ve had in the past has been realistically not very sustainable and certainly hasn’t been inclusive so the time is right for something different.

Why is UKREiiF important?

Pretty much like the whole world, the UK is going to face a decade of disruption whether it is from the need to respond to zero carbon, the advance of automation, the rise of the East and Brexit. All of these things are going to have disruptive effects on the country, bringing both challenges and opportunities.

And all of that’s true before we even had Covid, which has been a disruptor on a grand scale and it’s been an accelerator of other changes but it’s been an opportunity to pause and think about the way we do things and think through a new approach – why you might go for a different model of the networking and conferencing approach to real estate and development.

On the UKREiiF Advisory Group I have terrific group of people and together we will engage with people in the industry, from both the public and private sector, to say how best to shape UKREiiF in a way that works for everybody.

From my own perspective, I’ll be wanting to set out the investable opportunities that are available because we know there are needs for investment in infrastructure, in the green agenda, in housing and in place making but we also know there is investment funding that is looking for those investable opportunities. I would say that the ones that I am involved in are brilliant opportunities. Others will have their own but I know we are more likely to make progress on these big opportunities and agendas if we have something like UKREiiF up and running and this forum overseeing its development.

I am terrifically excited. We can create something that is genuinely home grown, sustainable, inclusive and diverse and that is something worth achieving that will, I think, in the end see the sort of investment and development that the country needs over the next decade.

LORD KERSLAKE was speaking at the UKREiiF launch webinar. The next update webinar takes place on April 20 (1.45-3.30pm). The speakers will be UKREiiF Advisory Group members Joanne Roney OBE (Chief Executive of Manchester Council), Gagan Mohindra MP (Chair of the APPG on Regeneration and Development), Nicola Bulley (Commercial Executive of Scarborough Group International) and Elizabeth Peckett (Head of Asset Management at Allied London).