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Business & Economy

Industry body calls for new development corporations to regenerate North East economy

A membership organisation for the built environment has called for new development projects and the formation of development corporations to transform and regenerate the North East economy.

Developing Consensus is a group of more than 100 private sector development professionals from across the North East.

It is pushing for regional leaders to recognise the need to identify and propel projects best placed to enhance the area.

While the Government has made a clear commitment to boosting regional economies, Neil McMillan, managing director of iMpeC Developments and part of the Developing Consensus steering group, ‘Enabling Development’, said that more must be done if the region is going to grow and prosper.

He said: “Now is a time to think big and bring forward game-changing projects that will deliver transformational regeneration across the North East.

“Close collaboration and joint future visioning between the public and private sector is key.

“To achieve this, we would like to see the activation of dynamic delivery vehicles such as dedicated development corporations, as these will accelerate investment and the delivery of game changing development.”

It is thought that development corporations can help initiate and boost local development, acting across local authority jurisdictions to provide sharper focus on projects required to support regional regeneration.

David Furniss, senior director of BNP Paribas Real Estate and head of the ‘Enabling Development’ steering group, said: “It’s clear each area in the North East has their ‘big ticket’ projects that will support growth, be it the new conference centre in Gateshead or Teesworks in Teesside.

“These particular projects are very welcome, and we fully support them, but we suggest now is a time to properly take stock and reassess other individual projects to ensure that collectively, they will deliver economic recovery across the region.

“We believe focused development corporations could be an important catalyst to drive forward the region.

“With the right budgets and planning powers, their selective use can accelerate investment and delivery of game changing development.

“At a time of scarce resources, they would enable the region to get a bigger bang for our buck.”