Arts, culture, heritage, nature and environment working together could provide an extra £2.7bn to the Northern economy, helping to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and regenerate the North, including Greater Manchester.


This is according to the NP11 group, a partnership of 11 northern local enterprises (LEPs), which work with partners including Arts Council England, the Environment Agency Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to develop a cohesive ‘Place Strategy for the North’. The group also work to deliver the mission, vision and strategic intent and propositions put forward by Northern businesses.


Arts, culture, heritage and nature make important contributions to economic growth and job creation across the North, as well as other major national priorities such as meeting net zero targets, regenerating town and city centres and boosting pride and well-being among communities.


Dehenna Davison MP, Minister for Levelling Up, said: “The publication of this report is a big moment for the north. As a born and bred Northerner myself, I know how important culture and heritage is to people right across this brilliant part of the country, and how proud we are that so much of our northern identity has shaped the rest of the country as a whole.


“And the government recognises this too, which is why culture and heritage are absolutely central to our mission in the landmark Levelling Up White Paper. Whilst much of levelling up is about spreading opportunity, it’s also about preserving the local identity of places right across the country. That’s why I’m delighted that partners across the north have come together to create a new strategy that truly unlocks the enormous strengths and opportunities in the region. I look forward to working closely with the NP11 group, as well as Arts Council England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic England and Environment Agency, so we can realise the visions in the Place Strategy for the North and unleash the talent we have here.”


The Strategy 

The Place Strategy sets out the economic case for place and culture in the North.

The Strategy sets out how a strengthened place proposition will boost investment and relocation interest, future prosperity and sustainability. It identifies the potential to add £2.7bn GVA (Gross Value Added) to the Northern economy on top of the £10.4bn already generated by the North’s arts, culture and heritage sectors.

The Delivery Framework sets out a collaborative framework through which partners and stakeholders can work together to deliver against the mission, vision, strategic intent and propositions put forward in it.


Key proposals include:

  • Nature recovery and green space will play a key role in the plans, helping to drive growth and well-being. This includes the transformational opportunities available through Nature North such as the Northern Forest and The Great Northern Bog.
  • Nature North is also looking to develop a set of five new cross-regional investable propositions around nature recovery in the North’s coasts and estuaries, towns and cities, greening transport networks, improving our rivers and sustainable approaches to farming.
  • Plans to elevate the content creation sector. The region’s significant production and content assets across film, TV and broadcasting will see increased recognition whilst promoting the North’s offer.
  • Cultural activity will be further incentivised through a pan-Northern programme of designated creative and cultural zones inspired by programmes in the North of Tyne and St John’s in Manchester, and Creative Cultural Enterprise Zones in London, and by rolling out a programme of financial support for business in the culture and creative industries.
  • The framework outlines the need to reintroduce arts and creativity to the ‘STEM’ emphasis in school curriculums by including an A for Arts (STEAM). This will help recognise the need for strengthened research capabilities across the natural, heritage and cultural capital and the opportunities for contribution to the North as a Life Sciences Supercluster, as well as meeting future skill requirements.


Lord Inglewood DL, Chair of Cumbria LEP, and the report’s co-author said“With the UK facing significant economic challenges, it’s vital that we continue to invest in local places, creating important local economic growth and ensuring people feel optimistic about the future of their communities.


“A strategy for the North sets out the case for place and culture in the North and the framework is now all about delivering on the mission, vision, strategic intent and propositions put forward in the Strategy. These are our plans for a green, creative and future-facing North which levers its diverse natural, historic and cultural capital to unlock economic prosperity and inclusive growth.”


You can read the reports here:

NP11 Place Strategy for the North

NP11 Place Strategy Delivery Framework