A new initiative which aims to bring significant investment and regeneration to West Cumbria has been approved by Allerdale Councillors.
Members of the Council’s Executive voted in favour of the creation of a joint venture partnership which will regenerate the authority’s surplus land and provide the opportunity to acquire new sites to create jobs, shops, businesses and housing.
The Allerdale Investment Partnership will see the Council working with a private sector company to create new jobs, housing, retail and leisure opportunities – and generate significant money that will be reinvested in strategic projects across the district. The Council is entering into the partnership with Lucent Strategic Land Fund, a land investment fund which is experienced in land acquisition and disposal projects.
The two partners have very specific responsibilities. The Council invests its surplus land and shares its knowledge of the needs of its communities, while Lucent invests money and the professional skills of its team to liaise with potential developers to secure planning permission and potential purchasers for individual sites. Lucent also has the commercial expertise, existing relationships with developers and investors, and the funding to take potential schemes through the planning process.
Councillor Mark Fryer, Allerdale Borough Council’s Executive Member with responsibility for Economic Growth, said: “Councils are under increasing pressure to ensure their property portfolios are rationalised and used efficiently and effectively. We have a number of assets, some in great locations, which could be brought back into use for the good of our communities. This partnership is all about economic regeneration – creating housing, leisure and employment opportunities, making sure people spend locally, and attracting visitors and tourists.
“We want this partnership to stimulate regeneration and attract investment, as well as achieving substantial profits that can be reinvested in new and exciting strategic projects. Our research of the market has shown there is a strong demand from businesses and developers who want to invest in Allerdale district. We need to capitalise on that now.”
Councillor Alan Smith, Leader of Allerdale Borough Council, added: “It is very important that the Council thinks carefully about how it disposes of its surplus assets and maximises the investment it can attract. We can use the proceeds of these surplus land sales throughout the borough, to develop better assets for our communities. We can also acquire land so we can meet the demands of the market and work with other public and private landowners to facilitate development. We are a council that is delivering on its promises and looking to the future.”
There has been a thorough assessment of the market prior to the Council reaching this stage of the process, which has already generated interest from potential investors. As a result, three initial sites have been selected as surplus to requirements and Executive Members also approved their disposal by the Allerdale Investment Partnership.
- Land at Ashfield Road South/Ellerbeck Lane, Workington – this site was allocated for housing in the Allerdale Local Plan in 1999
- Land adjacent to Derwent Park, Workington – national retailers have shown an interest in this site
- Land at Church Street, Workington – has potential for leisure and hospitality use.