Regenerating our regional towns and cities

Mark Postill
CIPFAs annual conference tackled the key questions for government and public services in the decade ahead.  Our regeneration experts were in attendance sharing their thoughts on this demanding industry issue. 

From the importance of change management to the emergence of tech and the challenges presented by it, Faithful+Gould are on hand to address the challenges and create solutions to public property and the management of assets. 

We have a once in a generation opportunity to regenerate our regional towns and cities to act as the social and cultural hubs at the centre of wider community regeneration and housing delivery.  A very important message delivered by Darren Henaghan, Managing Director of Borough Market, was that the most successful areas have taken time to understand their unique qualities and attributes and developed a good quality narrative and cultural identity around that specialism.  These places stand out from other gentrified areas as a unique offer drawing in visitors and exposure from a much greater geographic area.  This should be central to the thinking of those 51 towns recently shortlisted to develop plans for bids into the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Governments’ £675m Future High Streets Fund.  

Housing also remained a central theme, with a palpable shift towards self-delivery. The ability for Local Authorities to borrow from the Public Works Loan Board is allowing forward thinking authorities to push forward decisions based on a triple-bottom-line model.  By retaining strategic control over their developments, Local Authorities are building communities that meet elevated design and well-being standards and providing a positive impact to the wider communities they serve. 

Local Authority borrowing for commercial investment was also much debated, with LA investment tripling in three years to reach £3.6Bn per annum in 2017-2018.  Of the 20% of LAs that have built investment portfolios it is imperative they have thorough technical due diligence, have well-planned exit strategies and are accurately forecasting any further investment needed for refurbishment or plant upgrades at future lease events, especially near-term break clauses.

Post conference, I caught up with my other colleagues who attended to reflect on the outcomes and share our thoughts.

“Excellent talks - I particularly enjoyed the session lead by the MD of Borough Market. A very insightful look at how our town centres can be revitalised into social spaces with a mixture of local businesses. Markets are a welcome trend and should be celebrated.”

 

“Our engagement at the CIPFA conference gave us an opportunity to discuss how managing social value commitments is a huge part of regeneration. We had numerous conversations around how social value can be managed across all RIBA stages and how changes to procurement practices can boost social value considerations and reduce barriers for small medium enterprises. These changes will ultimately lead to a boost in the local economy, increased wellbeing, and a reduction in the use of public sector services for the local community.”

 

“CIPFA play an important role advising on finance and place.  This message was particularly clear in the excellent presentations and calibre of the attendees at the event.  F+G have a long and successful track record of working with CIPFA Property and the public sector.”

“The CIPFA annual conference was well attended with excellent key note and panel sessions covering key subject areas such as financial resilience, regeneration and the use of data and technology.  I had several really positive discussions in respect of the regeneration and transformation of Public Sector built assets, in particular how we are creating solutions to reinvigorate town centres and high streets to bring real demonstrable community social value to our local towns and cities.”

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