Recommendations For Widening Development Funding Welcomed

New Centre For Cities Report Backed By Legal Expert

28.03.2013

By Rob Dixon

A leading business lawyer at Irwin Mitchell has welcomed calls from research group Centre for Cities for the creation of a new national fund for urban development, stating that such a move would play a key role in getting many projects off the ground.

In its new Developing Interest study, released in conjunction with the European Investment Bank, the body has called for the creation of a national fund which major cities can access to push forward with local development and regeneration.

The fund would consist of European money, public funds and private sector investment and would be used alongside traditional grant funding.

Concerns have been raised that the current Urban Development Funds operated by the government offer patchy coverage and little benefit to a number of major cities including Leeds, Birmingham and Newcastle.

Oliver Martin, a Partner and specialist in planning at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, said that any change to the current system aimed at widening the scope of funding was bound to be seen by many as a positive step.

He outlined:  “Viability is key in relation to so many development projects at the moment, so any extension to funding for urban development projects across the UK’s major cities is to be welcomed.  The administration and operation of such a new fund will be important – there is often a concern that bureaucracy can reduce the efficacy of such proposals.

“If funding can be secured for early phases or for specific linked infrastructure elements of development projects then there is an increase in the likelihood of getting schemes out of the ground.

“With the introduction of Community Infrastructure Levy charges across many cities over the coming months and further down the line the increased costs of zero carbon development, viability for developments will continue to be important.”

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