The proposed Greener Regeneration Investment Fund (GRIF) would accelerate construction jobs for the next three years stimulating the post-Covid build back while delivering long-term benefits for communities.
Research from the Construction Leadership Council argues the low-interest fund would leverage £30bn of investment from the private sector.
The GRIF would overcome present funding shortcomings which favour assets over places; short term over long term; capital returns over holistic social betterment; and – crucially – successful economic locations over less prosperous areas, says the report.
Faster, better, greener
In Stevenage, where Mace is working with the council to regenerate the town centre the fund would deliver: 1,860 homes three years earlier than currently planned, a new town centre four years earlier, and 1,250 additional homes delivered six years earlier.
In Hastings, the fund would speed up proposed pipeline projects such as 80 new homes along with significant commercial and leisure town centre uses. Transforming derelict buildings/land and maximising community benefit.
The fund would be open to local authorities, public-private partnerships and not-for- profit regeneration programmes.
CLC Co-Chair Andy Mitchell said: “COVID-19 has had incalculable effects on all our lives and on the whole UK economy.
“It is, however, a chance for a gear-shift in how we deliver construction in the UK, and the opportunity not only to build back better, but to build back greener.
“With the right support, local authorities and their development partners can deliver targeted investment that will not only create jobs, but will deliver for communities and businesses in all parts of the UK.
“We are calling on the UK Government to take steps to empower local authorities to lead the UK’s economic recovery and deliver the sustainable future we will need to succeed in the post-pandemic world.”
Hannah Vickers, chief executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering, who spearheaded the research on behalf of the CLC, said: “We know there is a long-term demand for regeneration activity across the UK, not only to deliver ambitious housing targets, but to support levelling-up and growth at a local level.
“This fund will ensure that regeneration schemes also deliver on Government’s long-term ambitions on Net Zero and in doing so will open up projects to interest from private and institutional investors who are also seeking clear social and environmental returns.
“COVID-19 has brought into sharp relief the need for more resilience in our communities. The shift in commuter patterns and behaviours, the importance of open spaces and the delivery of local services have all been turned on their head recently.
“Successful projects will need to factor in these changes and overcome historic challenges to deliver faster, better and greener regeneration. This fund and the capability aligned to it will help Local Authorities and their private sector development partners do just that.”