Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Memoranda

Memorandum by St John's Urban Village (ERF 04)

  The St John's Board is a private/public partnership led by Wolverhampton City Council, Advantage West Midlands (Regional Development Agency) and the Prince's Foundation. It is tasked with delivering a high profile Regeneration Project in Wolverhampton City centre. The enclosed document sets out the main points of my submission, but perhaps it would help to give some background details:

  St John's Urban Village is a major part of the regeneration strategy for Wolverhampton. A Framework Plan for the Urban Village was adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance by Wolverhampton City Council in April 1999.

  One of the most strategically important sites which we are aiming to develop in the Urban Village is the Little Brickkiln Street site. This is an area of around one hectare of mainly derelict buildings, which links up the neighbouring New Deals for Communities area with Wolverhampton City centre. A Development Brief for the site has been drawn up and was adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance by Wolverhampton City Council in October 2001. Following this, a developer has put forward a proposal to build a mixed-use development on the site. The development is totally in accord with the Urban Village Framework Plan, the St John's Urban Village Business Plan and the Local UDP.

  Due to relatively low land values in Wolverhampton, it is widely accepted that some gap funding will be needed in order to make the project work. However, under the current PIP Schemes, a development with a majority (ie 50 per cent plus) residential component would not be eligible for Gap Funding. We therefore face a situation whereby a locally and regionally strategic site cannot be developed purely due to the lack of an appropriate funding mechanism. This is despite the fact that a private developer is prepared to make a multi-million pound investment in the Urban Village.

  The consequences for the St John's Urban Village and Wolverhampton City centre would be a loss of outputs, continued dereliction and poor image, thus holding down land values and inward investment. The loss of opportunity to develop the site due to the current Regeneration Framework will almost inevitably mean that value for money in other areas of investment within the Urban Village will be reduced.

  This example surely demonstrates the need for a new European Regeneration Framework.

St John's Urban Village Board

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