In order to tackle this challenge, central and local governments must work with the property industry to unlock potential development opportunities.
This work has already begun.
With the removal of the borrowing cap on the Housing Revenue Account for local authorities, access to funds has become easier. Not only this but local authorities can now secure finance at a lower level of repayment which makes traditionally difficult sites more viable for development.
This unlocking of previously problematic sites is a significant step that will drive increased public sector led regeneration across the UK. This could include areas with existing infrastructure that needs removal or public sector institutions that require relocation for example. By working in partnership with public sector organisations, developers can avoid controversial green belt land, and instead build on existing infrastructure to create thriving communities.
Placemaking, and the needs of communities, are central priorities for local authorities and will therefore naturally be a focus for these organisations when approaching a regeneration scheme.
Local government’s requirement to appeal to the electorate should not be underestimated and this means they are likely to prioritise the creation of high-quality public space and landscaping. This means that these partnerships provide a unique opportunity to create meaningful social impact. One great example of this is the London Borough of Havering’s £1bn joint venture with private sector organisation Wates Residential to regenerate 12 existing council estates. With funding more readily available to local authorities, the public sector has a unique opportunity to drive regeneration in local communities.
However, the challenge now is to create meaningful partnerships with longevity and a shared vision, that can create the quality housing and sustainable communities required.
It’s crucial that the public and private sector work together on wide-reaching regeneration projects to create not only new homes, but new communities which are desirable and sustainable.
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