“We appreciate that these funds bring challenges to local councils and we want to ensure there are fewer competitions in the future and more consolidated opportunities to access government funding.”
So said former Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick to the Local Government Conference in July 2021.
As ‘No Place Left Behind’ report from the Create Streets Foundation has noted, “despite the extreme pressures of the pandemic, the government has increasingly made funding available to kick start levelling up, with a strong focus on community and place.”
- The Levelling Up Fund (worth £4.8bn);
- The Towns Fund (£3.6bn);
- A Shared Prosperity Fund worth £1.5bn per annum;
- The Future High Streets Fund (£830m);
- A Community Renewal Fund (worth £220m);
- A Community Ownership Fund (£150m);
- High Street Heritage Action Zones (£95m); and
- A Welcome Back Fund (£56m).
The funding itself is clearly welcome, but Mr Jenrick was perhaps responding to criticism that all look set to be allocated competitively at Whitehall’s discretion and the National Audit Office did have something to say in 2020 about the discretion being exercised in the distribution of the Towns Fund.
What is the difference between success and failure when bidding for these funds? How hard is it in practice to realise a vision for a place, no matter how compelling and coherent, when implementation relies on a disparate and seemingly ever-evolving funding regime? Surely there is a better way, but what?
Sam Stafford puts these questions to:
- Ros Flowers, Economic Growth Senior Manager at Brent Council
- Andy Rumfitt, Senior Director at Turley
- Jaimie Ferguson, Director at Open
Some accompanying reading:
- ‘No Place Left Behind‘, the report of the Commission into Prosperity and Community Placemaking established by the Create Streets Foundation
- ‘Inquiry raises concerns over how £3.6bn towns fund was distributed‘ – The Guardian
- ‘Want to ‘level up’ the UK? Just give places the power and money they need‘ – The Guardian
- ‘Fundamental shift in funding to local level needed to help level up English towns‘ – The National Infrastructure Commission
- ‘How Labour can rebuild the Red Wall across the North‘ – Labour for the North
- ‘Unlocking the potential of places‘ – Future Place
Some accompanying listening: You never give me your money – The Beatles
50 Shades T-Shirts!
If you have listened to Episode 45 of the 50 Shades of Planning Podcast you will have heard Clive Betts say that…
‘In the Netherlands planning is seen as part of the solution. In the UK, too often, planning is seen as part of the problem’.
Sam said in reply that that would look good on a t-shirt and it does. Further details can be found here
BECG proudly supports the 50 Shades of Planning Podcast from Samuel Stafford, Regional Strategic Land Director at Barratt Developments.