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London council rolls out regeneration company

Published: Thursday, 24th November 2016

London borough to set up new regeneration company, aiming to meet ambitious targets for new homes and provide better infrastructure and more jobs in the area...

The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham has decided to set up a borough-wide regeneration company called Be First.

The new entity will be expected to meet ambitious targets for new homes, better infrastructure and jobs. Although the company will be commercially driven, it will be wholly owned by the public sector and managed by a board of regeneration experts from the private and public sector.  The new company is expected to make £16m for the authority over the next 10 years. 

Although the council will continue to make final decisions on planning applications and to approve strategic plans and policies, the company will offer a range of strategic services, pre-planning services and project delivery as well as setting up joint ventures and other special purpose companies to deliver regeneration.

Appointments to the board of Be First are expected to be made by the spring of 2017 and recruitment, which includes transfer of existing staff under the Transfer of Undertakings, Protection of Employment regulations (commonly known as TUPE) next summer.  The company is expected to start trading in October 2017.

A council spokesperson explained: “The precise size of the company is not known yet, and will depend on the workload. The economic regeneration and planning staff we have will, for the most part, transfer into the new organisation. 

“The council will retain responsibility for the determination of planning applications and Compulsory Purchase Orders, for the approval of strategic objectives, business plans, strategies and policies proposed by Be First for the approval of statutory fees and charges, and for the commissioning of services and new projects or other initiatives to be undertaken by Be First.

“Our development control board (DCB) will continue to function as at present. Be First, however, will take on all other functions.”

Read the news story.

Roger Milne