In this third of our series of top town tips created jointly with People and Places, we look at what it takes to lead and sustain town centre regeneration through generating the necessary income and investment.
Town centres are complex places with a ‘connected value’ between neighbouring businesses, public places, community facilities and transport links. The new concept of Town Centre Investment Zones demonstrates the complexity of the issues and seeks to manage them by pooling the ownership, investment and on-going management of town centres.
Well organised community or business-based champions like town partnerships, business forums, community enterprises or Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) can have an important role in leading local town centre regeneration. They can work effectively alongside local councils and businesses by engaging stakeholders, delivering flagship capital projects and organizing sparkling events.
The nationally-acclaimed F-Factors for Success in Organisational Development provides a framework for reviewing the sustainability of local groups including funding and finances. An annual Town Team Review provides invaluable insights in to a partnership's progress towards sustainability. Where such a local organisations is able to ‘put down roots’ it will be better able to draw-down funds based on its local engagement, track record, commitment to on-going management and sound forward planning.
Types and Sources of Funding
As well as nationally available funding such as the National Lottery and the LEADER Programme, local groups are increasingly generating funds through their own communities by Crowdfunding and Community Shares.
Asset-based development and the creation of community enterprises can both deliver services and generate a reliable future, income stream. Festivals and events can be managed to generate income and become self-financing.
Finance for community facilities through planning obligations (aka 'planning gain') is an option where there is major new development in a town. It is important for all sides to agree on priorities, understand what is affordable and allow for necessary revenue costs. In England, funding is available to assist communities in preparing Neighbourhood Plans and thereby ultimately influencing such obligations. Watch this space for further updates on Place Plans which we are involved in piloting in Wales. You can also find out more about funding town centre regeneration projects here.
Take a 'Town Team Review'
Sustaining the ongoing role of such local champions is always a major challenge. To help with this it is important to properly account for the value they add by bringing together people, developing ideas and contributing to a cohesive plan. This revenue cost and associated outputs can then be specified as part of funding agreements with local councils and should also be factored in to other fundraising bids. This is something we can help you to agree on through an annual Town Team Review.
Use our contact page to let us know if you have funding insights that others might learn from or would like us to do some research on your behalf. Or simply add comments below.
Keep up-to-date with other good practice in town centre regeneration through our partner People and Places Top Tips page including subscribing to our mailing list through our contacts page to receive future alerts.
To find out more on funding or developing an idea for your town centre, give us a ring us on 01873 880666 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org