Memorandum by Corby Local Strategic Partnership
This summary evidence of the Corby Local Strategic
Partnership is submitted reflecting strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats
in respect of Corby as perhaps typical of New Towns in part or
whole. Information covers the following areas:
2. Social Exclusion.
3. Organisations and regulations.
4. Corby and the regional economy.
5. Government Policy changes.
Key regeneration hopes for the area are to double
the size of the population in 20 years, redress the socio-economic
imbalance of the community, revitalise the town centre and support
flagship projects such as Rockingham Motor Speedway and provision
of a passenger rail service.
Key points are the extent to which New Town
design does not help long term sustainability.
Secondly, the effect of the original design
on urban management.
Thirdly, how car dependence might be reduced.
Fourthly, the balance between new development
and regeneration of older parts of the town.
The Corby LSP recognise there are current challenges
in Corby which may apply to other New Towns.
The fabric of the town and materials used in
constructing the New Town Centre are reaching the end of their
useful life. They require significant levels of investment to
restore life into tired facilities. Public transport is inadequate
in Corby, it is the largest urban centre without a passenger rail
service. There is low car ownership but high use of taxis.
The strengths of the area are the wealth of
open spaces and sports facilities and the opportunity under a
Local Plan review to expand and balance the socio-economic profile.
Weaknesses of the area include non-traditional building, and post
Radburn layout/design of estates. The socio-economic imbalance
of Corby from the time the New Town was developed is reflected
in the highest percentage of C2DE population in the country. The
Town Centre requires investment and does not act as a positive
magnet for the area.
The opportunities presented are the ability
to redevelop substantial parts of the New Town to integrate the
community, to improve the Town Centre.
To assist in the economic redevelopment of the
area through the Regeneration Company Catalyst Corby, and look
to move towards knowledge based and service industry away from
the traditional industrial and manufacturing fields. The current
threats include car dependency if the local bus service is withdrawn
or reduced, given the current statements from Stagecoach. The
geographical layout of the area requires transport between the
ring of housing estates and the outer ring of industrial areas.
The materials and design of New Towns requires
renewal on housing estates and currently the balance of amenities
within the Town Centre does not provide positive entertainment
especially for young people or shopping facilities.
The general unattractiveness of Corby may reflect
the same types of planning approach and development design undertaken
in other New Towns.
2. SOCIAL EXCLUSION
The key issues under Social Exclusion are:
Is the current policy on Social Exclusion exacerbated
by a Central Government approach to regeneration/neighbourhood
renewal, which does not enable small pockets of deprivation to
The second issue is the level of Social Exclusion
in Corby with pockets of deprivation masked by wealth in the surrounding
areas. Corby is a relative island of socio-economic deprivation
surrounded by a sea of wealth and prosperity in Northamptonshire.
The Corby LSP response is to identify that current
challenges include levels of anti-social behaviour, graffiti and
vandalism on some estates, evidenced by application for Anti-Social
Behaviour Orders. Extensive use of CCTV has controlled behaviour
in some areas including the Town Centre.
Community safety is underpinned by a very supportive
partnership between the Police, Local Authority and other agencies.
There is a lack of esteem and a lack of pride in parts of Corby
Health challenges remaincoronary heart
disease, diet and lack of health promotion. Substance abuse either
through drugs, tobacco, alcohol and poor diet underpin significant
levels of early mortality, high teenage pregnancy rates, coronary/heart
disease, and other ill-health issues.
Educationattainment can be very good
through the City Technology College, for example, but the area
has seen two failing schools close in recent times.
The dependency culture is compounded by the
socio-economic profile previously referred to.
Customer satisfaction levels are low, which
in part may be attributable to the negative impact of the Town
Over two thirds of the properties in Corby are
Council Tax Band A or B, and this profile is in contrast to property
in surrounding Local Authority areas such as Rutland or rural
Other strengths in the area include Education
Action Zone, Sure Start, Associated Health Action Zone, Positive
Futures and other health initiatives.
Weaknesses reflect the dependency culture and
the weekly wages culture in the low skills section of the economy.
Certain neighbourhoods are stigmatised and there is some distrust
of Police which may lead to an under-reporting of crime. There
was a recent conference to raise awareness and help tackle domestic
There are significant levels of apathy and low
expectations both individually and organisationally. The residential
community has tended to the belief that the Council would provide
in the absence of the market.
Other opportunities arise on the back of the
move by the Local Authority from the traditional role of provider
to an outward looking role of enabler, which is intended to empower
community groups to take forward their own facilities and services.
This devolvement of facilities may help the move away from seeing
the Council as the provider of resources where the market has
failed to deliver historically.
Catalyst Corby, the Regeneration Company continues
to attract industry and investment to assist the regeneration
and remodelling of both the Town Centre and outlying residential
The policy shift driven by the Local Strategic
Partnership is to underpin social inclusion as a prime objective
within the expansion and growth proposals for the area.
The developing voluntary sector is an opportunity
and the Local Strategic Partnership provides improved co-ordination.
Threats include the impact of change by the
Local Authority's strategic shift to the enabling role and the
speed with which community groups seize the opportunity of doing
things for themselves.
The initial changes will take time to bed into
the community and there are concerns about the community's capacity
to cope with the pace of change.
Threats also include the possibility of Corby
developing into two communities with the substantial increase
in growth anticipated. There is a negative stigma, image and perception
of Corby and the local area.
The key issues are what is the impact of regulations.
The impact and consequence of English Partnership's
control of land supply and English Partnership's role in the Planning
The effect of the transfer of assets and liabilities
to Local Authorities.
What is the role of Local Authority's residuary
bodies, non-departmental public bodies and promoting sustainable
regeneration in Corby or other New Towns. For example, the East
Midlands Development Agency, the Development Control Planning
powers of the Borough Council.
The Corby LSP response is that there are challenges
in Corby concerning the inheritance of contaminated land, which
arose from the working of steel in the area. There is limited
land currently held by English Partnerships, although EP have
interests in key sites affecting the future development of the
There needs to be a better definition of previously
worked land as Brownfield land or Olive land as opposed to Greenfield
Although there is a considerable supply of land
in the local area, which has been previously worked, the value
of the land, reflects the Corby values generally which are significantly
below the value of other adjoining Local Authority areas.
The key decision by the Commission for New Towns
to dispose of the Town Centre to a single purchaser has meant
there has been a lack of competition to ensure investment, development
and growth of the Town Centre over time.
This decision of the CNT has probably held back
development and investment in the area and fundamentally undermined
the success of the Town Centre.
A review of English Partnerships is important
to establish whether or not English Partnerships should form part
of the Regional Development Agency. English Partnerships and EMDA
are a key partner in the Urban Regeneration Company, Catalyst
The ability of all agencies to utilise the tax
breaks available in respect of Brownfield land is important to
the redevelopment of the area. Simpler sign posting and further
development eg, VAT exemption, would be of assistance.
The Local Authority collects over £20 million
in National Non Domestic Rates, but has only £2 million re-allocated
as part of the General Fund budget.
Some businesses find this a bemusing and a questionably
unfair arrangement. The lack of local retention of NNDR deprives
the business community and Local Authorities of a budget stream
where spend could be determined more closely in association with
industrial priorities in the area than is currently the case.
Central Government targeted help has, in the past, not always
recognised the New Town's agenda. The constraints of the planning
regime may not always provide opportunities for solutions which
might tackle the challenges currently facing Corby or other New
Town expansion proposals.
Strengths in Corby relate to the supply of land
and the partnership commitment from key agencies.
Weaknesses reflect the value of land, the history
of contamination of land and current requirements for registration.
Future opportunities include the development
of land and promotion of Brownfield land and Olive land as non
The threats include the length of time and procedures
required to undertake a Local Plan review, which may not move
swiftly enough to enable private sector investment and regeneration
of the area, to be achieved as quickly as possible.
The Town Centre redevelopment is very much reliant
upon the Town Centre owners' willingness to co-operate in the
Catalyst Corby Regeneration Company work and in marketing and
persuading key anchor stores to invest in the town.
4. CORBY AND
The issues to be considered are Corby's contribution
and role in commercial, industrial regional economy.
Corby's role in the local and regional housing
market and the effect of Corby New Town on the surrounding accommodation.
The LSP response is to reflect that Corby's
current role in the regional economy starts from an historical
industrial base of steel making, a low wage economy with extremes.
There are generally low employee skill levels although high tech
skills are evident. With the support of EMDA, English Partnerships,
Northamptonshire Chamber and Corby Business Group, and Catalyst
Corby, the area is a potential growth pole for the region.
Currently, 76 per cent of local spending goes
to Peterborough, Northampton and Leicester or other areas. The
ability to hang onto this local spend to see it reinvested in
Corby is a high priority.
A focus on tourism as an opportunity reflects
the increasing work between the New Town and the County and other
agencies in taking a sub-regional strategic partnership view of
the role of Northamptonshire/Corby can play in the East Midlands
The investment in Rockingham Motor Speedway
enables the Corby area to promote itself as part of motor sports
valley in terms of the global automobile market.
Corby has shifted in culture partly by using
partnerships of strategic alliances to address the weakness of
Other strengths include low unemployment 2.7
per cent, the diverse range of industry, supply of affordable
homes, transport road infrastructure and rail freight links.
The weaknesses include relatively low wage economy,
the socio-economic structure of the town, and over supply of property
types on estates.
The opportunities include the need to promote
more strongly the rural hinterland to attract more upmarket jobs,
environmental surrounds and quality homes to balance the lack
of choice currently in the housing market such as the Oakley Vale
To double the size of Corby over 20 years will
require both an increase in commuters into the area as well as
an actual increase of residential population. There is need for
a wider skills base and continuing investment using Rockingham
Motor Speedway as a catalyst for additional market interest.
The Government Office multi model studies of
the M1 and M11 allow the transport solutions for the area to be
integrated at a cross-regional level, linking solutions for the
M1, M11 and TENS A14 routes.
Threats include the current absence of an integrated
public transport system.
Growth in Leicester, Northampton, Peterborough
and Kettering will continue to provide competition for investment.
The key issues to be addressed are should the
Government change policy in New Towns.
What do design policy, regeneration policy and
social inclusion policy provide currently to support New Towns.
The Corby LSP responses is that in summary,
Corby currently loses out on the neighbourhood regeneration funding
proposals which are confined to 88 local authorities with the
most deprived wards within the country. A greater degree of NRF
flexibility to allow New Town areas to benefit from NRF funding
would be helpful.
A definition of deprivation to allow the top
30 per cent of deprived areas to quality for NRF funding would
see Corby and potentially other New Towns benefit from such changes
Corby has severe pockets of deprivation which
get masked by the wider Northamptonshire wealth and prosperity.
This was set out clearly in the Catalyst Corby Regeneration Company
submission and the Corby area has been successful in attaining
It is argued therefore by the LSP that such
NRF funding streams and similar should also be made available
to URC status areas.
There is a recognition that in going for growth,
the expansion of Corby will relieve London and South East population
and housing-building pressures.
The second wind of growth of Corby to a 100,000
population by the year 2020 would not be achieved unless transport,
investment, education, health and the agenda being reviewed by
the Select Committee was perceived as integral to the wider regeneration
of the area.
The study to accommodate cross regional growth
in the Bedford/Milton Keynes/Northampton/Corby quadrangle is an
important opportunity of benefit to several New/Expanded Towns.
The DTLR has established a working group to
look at regeneration and transport in Corby, which is a positive
Other strengths include the availability of
sites both Brown and Olive land.
Weaknesses currently include the poor transport
service compounded by the inability to secure Urban Bus Challenge
funding. Regeneration has historically been perceived as a second
tier objective and if New Towns are to realise their full potential,
there should be a higher profile and targeting of policy to New
Opportunities include the flagship developments
and the need for physical and socio-economic change within the
area. There is a potential for huge redevelopment of the Town
Centre with the support of the key owner.
The promotion of IT to enable better access,
provision of information and support is a key opportunity.
The Planning Green Paper would allow a fast
track for the review of the Local Plan which Corby could pilot
including reviews of olive land.
The high proportion of public sector housing
in Corby may be considered to be a weakness and may reflect the
imbalance of accommodation in other New Town areas. Other threats
include that the individual needs of New Towns get lost as part
of the wider urban area debate. Corby New Town is not the problem
but is potentially part of the solution.