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Guidance published to drive forward local growth

Words: Laura Edgar

Advice that aims to enable pro-growth councils, the real estate sector and central government to development more innovative ways of driving forward local growth together has been published.

The guidance is published in a report by the British Property Federation (BPF), representing the UK commercial real estate sector, and the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales.

The report updates Unlocking Growth Through Partnership, which was published in 2012.

The organisations said the report had been produced as a result of the significant policy change in the past few years.

It aims to encourage local authorities to take a number of steps to foster stronger public-private sector partnerships by:

  • Creating ongoing political dialogue;
  • Using land assembly tools at their disposal; and
  • Being committed to improving infrastructure.

The retail estate sector should, the report states:

  • Get to know an area, its priorities and history before development;
  • Remain open and accessible to local authorities; and
  • Develop a compelling housing and public realm offer.

In addition, the BPF and LGA have called on central government to:

  • Allow the pooling of funds;
  • Demystify local plans; and
  • Simplify the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).

The report includes case studies from Milton Keynes and Southampton, where local authorities are working with the real estate sector at a time when public funding is not guaranteed. It discusses remaining challenges for these authorities, including the upfront costs of land assembly and ongoing infrastructure requirements.

Martin Tett, economy spokesman for the LGA, says: “We hope this paper will further the debate on how local authorities, the real estate sector and central government can do their upmost to create thriving partnerships and packages of support which are able to fund the infrastructure and development critical to the country’s growth.”

Melanie Leech, chief executive at the BPF, added: “In a period of uncertainty, the need to forge effective public-private partnerships to maintain economic activity and investor confidence has never been more important. A local authority’s ability to engage with the real estate sector and make meaningful improvements to its town or city will shape the quality of people’s lives for years to come.”

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