Andy Rumfitt 21 April 2022

Why so many heritage and grant-led projects are stalling

Why so many heritage and grant-led projects are stalling image
Image: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock.com

The property industry is acutely aware of the difficulties that Brexit and the Coronavirus pandemic have each caused for development – from supply chains and cost to on-the-ground delivery and labour. All this has led to more and more schemes becoming less viable and this is having a significant impact on small-scale heritage projects that are at the heart of redevelopment projects being led by local authorities across the country.

Many of these schemes are now at a standstill, in which work has already started but costs are outstripping budgets rapidly.

There is much value to be derived from the regeneration of heritage assets. Although the upfront financial costs can seem daunting, the benefits extend beyond the infrastructure itself to the wider community, creating attractive living environments. There is also the likelihood of attracting new investment into an area once existing buildings are repurposed, creating new jobs and opportunities for local communities. Regenerating heritage buildings also plays a major part in the levelling up of towns and communities – a topic that continues to dominate the news agenda.

The challenge for many heritage projects that successfully secured funding prior to the pandemic, however, is that delays and increased materials costs have caused a number of projects to miss crucial deadlines set out in the terms of the funding. Local authorities then risk having to pay back grants, unable to fund the project further and see it through to completion.

While nobody could have foreseen the impacts of a pandemic, ensuring business case and funding applications take into consideration current and future project costs based on external factors like COVID inflation and Brexit, while working in adequate contingency to head off any potential cost issues further down the line, is key to mitigate against these risks. And, with the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine causing inflationary pressures to increase even further to 8%, ensuring this contingency is factored in amidst continuously rising costs is critical.

There is also the risk that heritage projects that publicly fail will disincentivise other local authorities from starting similar project in the future. Understanding what support is available if a project is met with a worst-case scenario is valuable for all parties involved.

While heritage projects contribute to regeneration efforts and levelling up, local authorities must understand how to navigate these new pitfalls to ensure they are successful. Even having an early conversation to think about unexpected costs can help prepare – each project is inevitably going to differ from the last, and so ensuring the appropriate plan is constructed when applying for funding is vital.

Andy Rumfitt is senior director and head of business cases and funding at Turley

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Inspector

Cambridgeshire County Council
£28,226 - £30,095
The Street Works Team currently has a vacancy for a Street Works Inspector. Cambridgeshire, Various places-working out of office base.
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Purchase Ledger Officer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£19,312 - £19,698
The Revenues Service is looking to recruit a Purchase Ledger Officer to cover maternity leave in our busy Purchase Ledger team. Darby House, Telford
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Specialist Behaviour and Inclusion Keyworker

City of Bradford MDC
£22,129 - £27,514 pa (Pro rata for Part Time Posts)
The role is to support parents/carers to implement changes in behaviour and lifestyle that improve outcomes for children and young people. Based at Specialist Behavioural Services
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Legal Officer (Litigation)

City of Bradford MDC
£22,129 pa - £32,798 pa (starting salary dependent on experience)
We are looking to recruit to the above position to join our busy legal team. Based in City Hall, Bradford City Centre
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Assistant Streetworks and Permitting Officer

Lincolnshire County Council
£21,269 - £23,953
Do you want to make a difference to how Street Works are managed within Lincolnshire? Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County 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.