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08/02/2018

Lack of senior team members ‘undermines’ EDC effectiveness

Words: Laura Edgar
Ebbsfleet International Station / Matt Buck

The Tailored Review of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) suggests that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) ‘inability’ to recruit an experienced permanent chief executive ‘undermines its effectiveness and ability to fulfil its potential’.

Further to this, “unacceptable delays” in confirming the appointment of a replacement board director and the lack of certainty about the future of EDC compounds the issue.

“These issues need to addressed as a matter of urgency,” states the Tailored Review of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation.

However, it also notes that EDC is now making “significant” progress and should remain in place for at least another five years. It has the potential to “shape and drive” ongoing development in the garden city and the area that surrounds Ebbsfleet International Station – the central area.

“Removing EDC at this point would cause a significant risk to delivery,” it says.

Established in 2015, the development corporation aims to plan and facilitate new development for Ebbsfleet garden city.

The report acknowledges that delivering an “acceptable and implementable” scheme for the central area will be complex because of land ownership, contract commitments and existing planning permission framework. This is noted as being the single issue that risks the garden city goal not being achieved.

The solution requires relevant government departments to work in partnership with the private sector, with EDC playing a “critical coordinating role, potentially investing in infrastructure, supporting early catalyst development and potentially through direct development”.

According to the report, EDC lacks the revenue funding required to conduct feasibility studies, which limits its potential to influence how billions of pounds can be invested. It also lacks a number of skills, such as commercial development skills, and has limited design capacity.

The report recommends that the development corporation should conduct a skills review to find out which ones are needed to a “enable a more proactive and coordinated approach to community engagement consistent with garden city principles”.

The full report and a list of recommendations can be found on the UK Government website (pdf).

Image credit | Matt Buck

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