The hardcore among the Mipim set may be saying their farewells in the last of the season’s parties but by and large most of us have headed back today and the exhibition has drawn to a close.

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By Samantha Partington, digital news editor

As the North West correspondent for Property Week, naturally I spent a lot of time in the Manchester Pavilion, meeting delegates from across Greater Manchester, listening to debates and meeting old and making new contacts.

We heard female chief executives from the public and private sector talk about how having a balance of men and women in key leadership roles improves the quality of decision-making. Surprisingly, or maybe not, one panellist explained why she struggled to back quotas for female recruitment, arguing that if you were offered a job you’d want to be there on merit and not because it makes up the numbers. I agree. I do, however, understand why the business world has had to use quotas to force companies into recruiting women.

A question from a man in the audience about how men can help women feel valued and supported at work was met with a simple response: “Call out the bad behaviour you see. Don’t leave it to us.”

Later, over drinks, some of the Manchester agents talked about the fact the sector needs to take a hard look at its recruitment strategy because the sheer volume of white, middle-class young men being hired was doing nothing to improve diversity in the sector.

In other news, Bolton Council named Muse Developments as the lead developer on its £1bn town centre regeneration masterplan. Gary Neville and Sir Richard Leese talked to the press about the St Michael’s scheme in Manchester’s Bootle Street area.

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Muse Developments was named as a leading partner for Bolton Council’s £1bn town centre masterplan

Neville was defensive to say the least about questions over the benefit to the average Mancunian of a five-star hotel and higher-than-high-end apartments for sale. Would the apartments be offered for sale in Manchester first? Neville said yes but that very shortly after they would open sales to the international property market.

A typically brief Mipim meeting with Rochdale council proved fruitful. It has some exciting plans for town centre housing, which doesn’t exist at the moment, and burst my London-focused view of a lack of affordable housing: “We have loads of it up here; we need to build larger three- and four-bedroom homes.”

It was great to be part of the Manchester-at-Mipim experience, and as it was my first Mipim I would like to say thanks to everyone who told me where everything was and helped me understand how it all works – although I’m not sure anyone really knows. I won’t lie: the blisters are brutal, but that will teach me for ignoring my editor’s warning – you really can’t do this with heels on.