MHCLG launches £10 million fund to support plans for new communities

The government has launched a £10 million fund to help councils develop proposals for up to ten "new communities" across England using development corporations, while announcing the creation of a new development corporation at a planned High Speed Two (HS2) rail hub in the East Midlands.

Proposals for the redevelopment of Toton in the East Midlands. Pic: HS2 Ltd/Midlands Connect
Proposals for the redevelopment of Toton in the East Midlands. Pic: HS2 Ltd/Midlands Connect

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government  (MHCLG) announced that the money would be provided over three years and would aim to support up to ten "transformational housing and economic growth opportunities, focusing on regeneration".

In a statement, the MHCLG said: "Up to 10 local areas will receive money to help them make the case to government for development corporations which could deliver thousands of new homes for local people."

The government said councils can submit expressions of interest individually or with other local authorities.

It added: "We strongly welcome applications from private or third sector organisations made in partnership with local authorities."

Bidders have been asked to demonstrate that proposals will support regeneration or housing delivery "in the areas of the country where it is needed most".

They should also be able to show a route map for delivery "demonstrates an ambition to deliver in a reasonable timeframe".

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: "We want to drive economic growth outside London and the South East.

"Our new development corporations will empower local areas to come forward with ideas for new towns that deliver jobs, houses and economic growth – creating the future Canary Wharfs of the North and Milton Keynes’s of the Midlands.

Meanwhile, Jenrick also announced that the first of such projects would be set up in the East Midlands with the establishment of a new development corporation at Toton, where a new High Speed Two station is planned close to the M1 and East Midlands Airport.

It will be led by the former Burberry chairman, Sir John Peace, who said it could have a "transformational impact on the region".

Peace is also chairman of regional economic development body the Midlands Engine and of Midlands Connect, the transport body driving the redevelopment of Toton along with government-owned company High Speed Two Ltd.

He said: "In taking forward our proposal for a development corporation, we will capitalise on a once-in-a-generation economic and regeneration opportunity, of scale. It means we will realise a much greater breadth of social, environmental and economic benefits for our communities, as we invest jointly in the future of our region."

The MHCLG has also launched a consultation on revising development corporations' legal and planning powers.

In September, a report for think tank Centre for Cities called on the greater use of development corporations on green belt and agricultural land around railway stations.

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