Strengthened delivery arrangements and more local planning responsibility will drive regeneration in London and Thurrock Thames Gateways and West Northamptonshire following a review of Urban Development Corporations (UDC), Communities Ministers Shahid Malik and Ian Austin announced today.
These new arrangements provide stronger partnerships between Government and local authorities to continue delivering regeneration in these tough times and improve efficiency in light of the Government's Operational Efficiency Programme – a programme to achieve greater efficiencies in cross-cutting areas including back office and IT operations and collaborative procurement.
Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation (TTGDC) is dealing with several large regeneration projects in Thurrock. To ensure work in this region can continue to achieve value for money TTGDC will be incorporated into the Homes and Community Agency (HCA).
TTGDC staff and projects will transfer to the HCA and benefit from the agency's expertise as Europe's largest regeneration agency. The team will continue to be based in Thurrock and will be bolstered by additional HCA support as they drive forward important redevelopment projects in Purfleet and the London Gateway port in Shellhaven.
The London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (LTGDC) will continue in its current form until after the Olympic Games and work with partners on regeneration at London Riverside but concentrating increasingly on the regeneration of the Lower Lea Valley.
LTGDC will work with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) on helping secure a lasting legacy from the Games for east London. A review of its future will take place at the time the ODA is wound up and the ODA's and LTGDC’s planning responsibilities discharged.
Today the London Boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney have been invited to submit proposals for a new planning regime for the Lower Lea Valley. We are also inviting the two London Riverside boroughs of Havering and Barking and Dagenham to propose a new planning regime for their area.
The West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC), which supports regeneration in Northampton, Daventry and Towcester, will now concentrate on strategic delivery of key projects with more joint working with partners. This will release efficiencies, find new ways of working and savings across organisations.
WNDC will return planning responsibilities to the local planning authorities. It is currently responsible for applications of 50 or more homes as well as most applications in the centre of Northampton. It is intended that from April 2011 it will concentrate on planning applications for schemes of 200 homes or more and major commercial schemes across the area.
Thames Gateway Minister, Shahid Malik, responsible for regeneration in the London and Thurrock Thames Gateway areas, said:
"The new arrangements will ensure we continue regeneration in these areas during these tough times. These are the right changes to make at the right time and will benefit people living and working in communities throughout the Thames Gateway.
"Not only will the changes improve efficiency they will help us drive forward key regeneration projects such as the Olympic Park, the London Gateway port at Shellhaven and the redevelopment of Purfleet, in the coming years."
Regeneration Minister, Ian Austin, responsible for regeneration in West Northamptonshire, said:
"The regeneration and sustainable growth of Northampton, Daventry and Towcester remains an important priority and will benefit from a stronger, more focussed UDC working closely with local authorities and communities.
"These new arrangements keep the focus on delivering new homes and jobs for local people but help improve working arrangements with delivery partners to make efficiencies and savings and give more responsibility to local communities."
Will McKee, chairman of TTGDC, said:
"The quinquennial review has highlighted the work and significant progress that the Development Corporation has achieved over the last five years and underlined the need for a continued presence of a dedicated regeneration body, on the ground in Thurrock, to shape and develop the borough and the opportunities it offers.
"While the Development Corporation's line of reporting will change in April 2011, when its staff transfer to the Homes and Communities Agency, the organisation's remit and commitment to Thurrock will remain and we will continue to work towards our existing targets and the delivery of key projects such as the creation of a new centre for Purfleet, Grays Community Hospital and the Royal Opera House Production Park."
Bob Lane, chairman of LTGDC, said:
"Today's announcement is clear confirmation to communities, existing businesses and potential inward investors that east London’s regeneration remains a key Government priority. At the halfway point of LTGDC’s life we have developed a real momentum which is delivering lasting benefits to the area.
"Working with our partner agencies in the private and public sectors, the next few years will be a period of progress and change - with LTGDC continuing to play a leading role in the transformation of east London."
John Markham OBE, chairman of WNDC, said:
"This decision is excellent news. It recognises the huge opportunity that West Northamptonshire represents for the delivery of jobs, homes and investment. We will continue to support our local authority partners by delivering key projects that will realise their vision for the future for the communities of Northampton, Daventry and Towcester."
Sir Bob Kerslake, chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency, said:
"The Homes and Communities Agency is keen to work with all three of the Urban Development Companies in order to ensure that the most appropriate capacity is available to local partners to help them deliver.
"The quinquennial review has set the overall framework for delivery in the UDC areas for coming years and we will work very closely with Government and local partners to ensure that we are well placed to take advantage of opportunities to deliver regeneration.
"In Thurrock, we are keen to work with the Council, the Development Corporation and local partners to ensure that future arrangements for governance and delivery are put in place. We believe that there is a new opportunity for the HCA to develop strong and durable arrangements with local partners to deliver the best outcomes for local communities."
When England's three UDCs were established in 2003 and 2004 the Government committed to reviewing them after five years. This quinquennial review considered the performance of each UDC, whether changes locally or regionally affected the need for a UDC and whether removing obstacles or granting greater freedoms enable UDCs to operate more effectively.
Notes to editors
1. From April 2011 Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation (TTGDC) team will move to the Homes and Communities Agency.
2. The Olympic Delivery Agency is responsible for developing and building the new venues and infrastructure for the Olympic Games. One of its key responsibilities is the building of the Olympic Park for the London 2012 Games being held in east London.
3. The two London Boroughs of Havering and Barking and Dagenham make up the London Riverside regeneration area.
4. West Northamptonshire is part of the Milton Keynes South Midlands (MKSM) Growth Area. The West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC) was established on 15 December 2004, with an indicative 10 year lifespan, and operates within designated urban development areas in Northampton, Daventry and Towcester.
5. In April 2006 WNDC was given certain responsibilities for planning applications covering more than 50 homes or 2,500 square metres of business floor space across Northampton, Daventry and Towcester. WNDC is also responsible for most applications within the Northampton Central Planning Area. The separate West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit is responsible for determining the location of planned growth in West Northants, and the levels of growth at individual locations.
6. It is intended that from April 2011 WNDC will concentrate on planning applications for schemes of 200 homes or more and major commercial schemes. Other applications will be handled by Northampton Borough Council, Daventry District Council, South Northamptonshire District Council and Northamptonshire County Council.
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