Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by Yorkshire Forward (ERF 16(e))


  Yorkshire Forward's strategic property agenda is focused on economic regeneration.

  Yorkshire Forward would not want to use the proposed scheme on a reactive grant distribution basis—which was a traditional public sector approach to the property market.

  We would see and utilise this new scheme as another tool to help us deliver our strategic agenda. We would not see this scheme as a means to an end, but simply as another option available to us in our property toolkit.

  We would not use it in isolation of our wider urban renaissance agenda.

  This scheme would prove useful in allowing RDAs to deliver a specific residential element within a mixed-use development scheme.

  Such a scheme, if approved would also serve to ease concerns associated with the new EU approved regeneration schemes; specifically, that the five existing mechanisms deter residential development from regeneration programmes.


  The scheme is not restricted to Assisted Areas and is not subject to Aid Intensity Ceilings—it appears that as long as the cost is greater than value we will be able to fund any projects, assuming the scheme is approved in this form. It seems that any scheme relating to housing should focus on the provision of affordable housing rather than housing per se, although the flexibility that this allows may be welcome.

  Eligible costs cover land/property. This is to be included at market value, or if the site is in the applicant's ownership, the lower of market value or purchase price. This doesn't seem flexible enough to cover sites that have been in an applicant's ownership for some time, or where the site was purchased originally for an entirely different use.

  The construction of new dwellings or refurbishment of existing buildings is an eligible cost. Presumably the standard of fit-out would be left to the discretion of individual RDAs, or would some form of guidelines be produced?

  There would be a working assumption that profits plus finance costs would be capped at 8 per cent in normal circumstances. We would suggest that this should be flexible enough to accommodate changes in the cost of borrowing. Maybe use 8 per cent as a guideline, but leave this to the discretion of RDAs.

  The funding relates purely to the cost and value of the housing. It seems to exclude the provision of open space etc—this is likely to add cost to any development for little, if any, monetary return, may arguably make the development more attractive and, therefore, more saleable. This does appear to be an omission from a housing scheme of this sort.


  As mentioned above, Yorkshire Forward's remit is focused on economic development.

  In relation to housing we inherited programmes with a residential element under SRB and support projects under Objective Five of the RES: "implement targeted, community-based regeneration programmes", which contain housing elements. However, individual projects have not focused solely on housing, and physical improvements to dwellings and community facilities have taken place as part of a holistic programme of economic, social and environmental change.

  Yorkshire Forward understands the important role that the availability of affordable and good quality housing plays in influencing the image of the region, creating an attractive environment to attract and retain people and investors.

  RES Review: our approach to housing—it is part of our urban renaissance agenda: providing high quality mixed use developments that will create sustainable, thriving urban environments in line with recommendations in the Urban White Paper. Examples include Holbeck Urban Village, Manningham Mills, URCs.

  The RES Review is likely to strengthen the integration of economic development and housing issues.

  It may be necessary for Yorkshire Forward to intervene within certain policy areas. There is a concern that skill shortages in the construction industry may hamper physical development in the region, and consequently economic development. In this instance we would look to intervene under RES Objective Four: "Improve education, learning and skills action".

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