Memorandum by Corby Borough Council (NT
1. In the early 1930s the availability of
local iron ore attracted steel works investment to the area. Thousands
of workers and their families were imported to operate the works,
housing accommodation was constructed by the Steel Company. In
1950 Towns Status was awarded followed by New Town designation.
2. Fortunes fluctuated until in 1979 the
closure of steel led to the eventual loss of 11,000 jobs creating
over 30 per cent unemployment. With the support of the newly created
Commission for New Towns, Assisted Area and Enterprise Zone Status
the economy bounced back and current unemployment is below 3 per
3. Corby has a significant role to play
in the Sub-Region as part of Motorsports Valley and Rockingham
Proposals to double the size of the town will
accommodate significant population growth and housing development
over the next 20 years.
Corby has an Urban Regeneration Company and
is part of the Northamptonshire Sub-Regional Strategic Partnership.
It is an economic driver for the County but a significant number
of community and environmental issues require to be addressed.
4. The original Master Plan for the Town
is to be replaced by a new regeneration framework which has been
commissioned by Catalyst Corby through Consultants EDAW. This
Master Plan will guide development and redevelopment of Corby
in the future.
5. The original Corby Village of about 1,500
has been absorbed into the substantial growth of the New Town
since 1933. However, the population has plateaued over recent
years around the 53,350 figure.
It is expected over the next 20 years that a
doubling of the size of Corby will see substantial New Town expansion
to the east and south of the existing New Town area. Catalyst
Corby and the Local Strategic Partnership will be concerned to
ensure integration between existing and new growth of the area.
6. The town has not achieved the population
that was originally planned in the early Drivers Jonas studies,
where a 125,000 population figure was muted. It is expected the
new regeneration framework will enable the population target of
100,000 to be achieved over the next 20 years.
7. Corby has a relatively young population
profile related in part to the development of the New Town area.
Some of the health, social and cultural challenges
presented by the population profile are reflected in the strategies
adopted by the agencies in responding to this issue. The population
profile also has a series of needs which are not well catered
for in terms of existing town centre shopping, retail, leisure
and cultural facilities. Part of the redressing of this shortfall
will be achieved through the work of the Local Strategic Partnership
and Catalyst Corby Regeneration Company.
8. The demand for commercial land remains
vibrant although the price per acre in Corby is less than the
surrounding rural hinterland. Industrial redeveloped brownfields
site has been purchased for in the region of £100,000+ per
acre. There is demand for further commercial development in the
town but key anchor stores have not yet committed to the area
with the existing population catchment. The effect of commercial
development in other towns in the Sub-Regional economy, provides
competition from Leicester, Peterborough, Kettering and Northampton
and Corby loses some 67 per cent of local spend to these other
9. Corby is included in the East Midlands
Regional Planning Guidance and within the County Structure Plan.
The existing County Structure Plan has identified a special policy
zone for Corby to allow the growth of low density housing and
commercial development to be processed. The existing Local Plan
adopted in 1997 has a need to be replaced given the recent escalation
and proposals for growth within the Corby area.
Part of the challenge for Corby Borough Council
is to be able to fast-track the review of the Local Plan which
currently projected may take some two to three years. Options
within the Planning Green Paper are being considered to enable
10. The Sub-Regional role of the shopping
centre in the town has room for improvement. Significant multi-million
pound investment is proposed in the town centre area over the
next few years as part of Catalyst Corby Regeneration Company
works. A key partner is the landowner for the town centre, TOPS
Estates who have successfully sought development control approval
and are considering how best to contribute to the work of Catalyst
Corby to rejuvenate the town centre.
The town centre is not currently seen to be
competitive nor offer the range of shopping retail facilities
anticipated of a population of 100,000.
11. Covenants have restricted the development
of key strategic town centre sites formerly owned by English Partnerships
and was an issue requiring to be resolved in terms of a ransom
strip owned by English Partnership as part of the Rockingham Motor
Speedway development. English Partnerships ownership of other
land is limited within the Corby area. However, the Commission
for New Towns disposal of the town centre to a single landowner
has not led to effective competition in the town centre and this
may have slowed the substantial investment required to rejuvenate
the existing town centre.
12. There are limited cases of clawback
on right to buy being an issue for Corby Borough Council. The
issues of clawback on Corby are more to do with the repayment
of land reclamation grant required to decontaminate land previously
worked and owned by British Steel. This involves millions of pounds
over many years.
13. The Council continues to service debt
of just over £600,000 in respect of the transfer of non-housing
14. There is little comparability between
the financial value of liabilities caused as a result of Corby
being a New Town compared to the financial value of the assets
held by English Partnerships in the Corby area.
15. English Partnerships are a key agency
in the Catalyst Corby Urban Regeneration Company. Historically
English Partnerships have played an important role in releasing
land for redevelopment in strategic locations within Corby although
their current role and land owning responsibilities are limited.
Corby requires investment to double the size
of the area to achieve the original plan and potential for Corby
as a New Town. The town centre requires rejuvenation, the fabric
and structure having been built at a similar time now requires
16. The SSA formula could be adjusted to
reflect not only the parallel pattern of decline of new towns
but in the Corby area the inheritance of building a new town around
steel and the substantial hectares of contaminated land that the
Borough Council continues to recover in association with current
17. The pattern of ownership of the town
and the transfer of the CNT housing stock has led to a monopoly
social landlord position for the Council in the area.
The ability therefore to develop alternative
registered social landlords and Housing Associations may have
been slowed as a result of this pattern of tenure.
This pattern of socially affordable housing
will also have impacted on the socio-economic C2D profile for
the area and limited private sector development of quality homes
These matters are currently being addressed
through the Catalyst Corby Urban Regeneration Company work.
18. Corby Borough Council's Housing Revenue
Account is likely to experience significant financial challenge
in the next two to three years given the profile of the housing
stock and the requirement to deliver a standard of decent homes.
The balance between day to day repairs and planned preventative
maintenance is currently 60 per cent-40 per cent.
A stock options appraisal is being undertaken
in order to identify how funding can best be secured to meet the
repair and maintenance needs of housing stock in future years.
19. The Corby Community Safety Partnership
has recently launched its Community Safety Strategy which seeks
to ensure a designing out of crime when homes are being developed.
The Community Safety Partnership taps into funding streams currently
available through Government and other initiatives and in particular
has been successful in securing bidding for additional CCTV camera
20. The Local Transport Plan generally includes
provision for dealing with issues of design and layout to remove
dependency on the car.
The transport challenges in Corby are simply:
1. There is no rail station and no rail service
although the rail line runs through the town. Corby is the biggest
urban centre without a rail service in Europe.
2. The provision of a timely, effective bus
service has proved difficult and the current provider has experienced
problems in continuing a profitable service on all routes within
the Corby area. A fundamental review of bus service provision
is being undertaken through joint work between the County Council,
Catalyst Corby and Stagecoach.
3. There is good infrastructure within the
area but the success of the A14 requires a review of the A14/A43
junction south of Corby and improvements to a southern Corby by-pass
4. The Borough Council area has a successful
black taxicab alternative provision and community service provision.
21. Mobility schemes to target the old,
the young or disabled people are being promoted through the Corby
Volunteer Bureau which has been successful in securing funding
for such initiatives.