North East membership organisation Developing Consensus is calling for game-changing development projects and the formation of development corporations to transform and regenerate the regional economy.
The group of over 100 private sector development professionals across the North East have stressed the importance of ‘thinking big’ and highlighted that regional leaders need to identify and propel projects best placed to enhance the area.
Whilst the government has made a clear commitment to boosting regional economies through development in Boris Johnson’s recent “build, build build” speech, Neil McMillan, Managing Director of iMpeC Developments and part of the ‘Enabling Development’ steering group at Developing Consensus, comments that more must be done if we are to grow and prosper at a regional level.
He said: “Now is a time to think big and bring forward game changing projects that will deliver transformational regeneration across the North East.
“Close collaboration and joint future visioning between the public and private sectors is key. To achieve this, we would like to see the activation of dynamic delivery vehicles such as dedicated development corporations, as these will accelerate investment and the delivery of game changing development.”
Development corporations can help initiate and boost local development, acting across local authority jurisdictions to provide sharper focus on development projects required to support regional regeneration, reducing red tape, helping cross-boundary coordination and increasing the pace of development.
“It’s clear each area in the North East has their ‘big ticket’ projects that will support growth, be it the new conference centre in Gateshead or Teesworks in Teesside. These particular projects are very welcome and we fully support them, but we suggest now is a time to properly take stock and reassess other individual projects to ensure that collectively, they will deliver economic recovery across the region,” said David Furniss, Senior Director of BNP Paribas Real Estate and Head of the Developing Consensus ‘Enabling Development’ steering group.
“It’s also an opportunity to think big and bring forward new, bold, game changing projects – particularly those in growth industries – that will deliver transformational regeneration. So we are urging local government across the North East to be more ambitious and identify projects of scale and impact that are truly visionary.
“Our North East local authorities already work well to meet these challenges effectively in their own areas. But we need authorities to work at pace together and across a much larger scale on cross-boundary schemes. And that is where development corporations can be most effective.
“Close collaboration and joint future visioning between the public and private sectors is also absolutely key. And we believe focused development corporations could be an important catalyst to drive forward the region. With the right budgets and planning powers, their selective use can accelerate investment and delivery of game changing development. At a time of scarce resources, they would enable the region to get a bigger bang for our buck.”