Hannah Vickers 02 November 2020

Rethinking local regeneration

Many will be aware of the limitations of the traditional approach to regeneration which has tended to focus on redevelopment, and not on the revitalisation of a local area, neglecting social, environmental and economic outcomes that could potentially deliver on longer-term Government ambitions.

We should not be surprised that when it comes to national housing targets, the levelling-up agenda, or Net Zero ambitions, regeneration often underwhelms. Owing to the nature of how it is financed, current programmes favour assets over places, finance over social impact and successful economic locations over less prosperous areas. With all of this in mind, we have developed proposals for a £40bn Greener Regeneration Investment Fund which will challenge the regeneration model to truly deliver more for society.

While the impact of the pandemic on local authority financing is currently unknown, it is fair to assume that finance will remain an issue for any forward thinking local authority or LEP looking to use regeneration as a catalyst for a locally-led recovery. This is why the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), through the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), developed these proposals to help make regeneration faster, better and greener.

Providing this alternative source of Government-backed finance would reduce this cost by as much as 7%. In turn, this could be reinvested by local authorities into their community in the form of social or environmental projects and schemes. However, this is not just about a more cost-effective financial transaction, this subtle change in approach would give local authorities a much stronger hand when it comes to negotiation, and would go some way to rebalancing the relationship between public and private partnerships.

With a secure source of affordable finance, local authorities will be able to drive schemes to market more rapidly, purchasing land or sites, and encouraging community or infrastructure improvements. With additional public sector leverage, the most suitable land would be purchased, rather than the cheapest. This would mean placing doctors surgeries, care homes, social housing or public open spaces where they are actually needed, rather than being an afterthought to developers’ commercial considerations.

To meet Net Zero goals at a town or city level requires a strategic approach to development and this new type of regeneration provides the perfect opportunity to embed local biodiversity principles and priorities. More directly and with strong financial backing, Net Zero targets and resilience could be embedded in any proposed buildings and structures.

Furthermore, alongside the financial elements to the Fund, it has been designed to provide access to expert capability and knowledge-sharing in finance, capability and planning, truly empowering local leaders as they develop plans, proposals and programmes for a post-COVID world.

The pandemic has changed expectations and regeneration schemes will need to up their game if they are to deliver on society’s ambitions. With the traditional financial model on hold until the pandemic is well and truly over, we will need an innovative approach if we are to use regeneration to enable a locally-led recovery which helps Britain 'Build Back Better'.

Hannah Vickers is chief executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE)

Regenerating public realm for climate change image

Regenerating public realm for climate change

The regeneration of White Hart Lane in Tottenham, London has shown has permeable paving and street trees should can help address climate change while delivering SuDS. Chris Hodson reports.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Senior Technician

Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council
£27,514
We are looking to recruit a Senior Technician within the busy Structures team. Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf
Recuriter: Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council

Senior Engineer

Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council
£36,371
We are looking to recruit a Senior Engineer within the Structures team. Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf
Recuriter: Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council

Business Hub Manager

Sevenoaks District Council
£40,208 - £43,251 (Subject to Job Evaluation)
Later this year Sevenoaks District Council will be launching a new business hub and business support service in Swanley. Swanley, Kent
Recuriter: Sevenoaks District Council

Economic Development & Programmes Manager

Sevenoaks District Council
£52,305 - £55,475 plus car allowance of £2,700
How would you support the economic development of Sevenoaks? Sevenoaks, Kent
Recuriter: Sevenoaks District Council

Head of Digital

Dacorum Borough Council
Up to £70,092.00 per annum (inclusive of London Fringe Weighting)
This is a fantastic time to join Dacorum Borough Council. Dacorum
Recuriter: Dacorum Borough Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.