Local councils could hold the key for smaller towns and cities.
Located in the most northern and rural part of the North West region, Allerdale may not be on the top of most investors’ lists of locations to be. This downside has not stopped Allerdale Borough Council from looking to make the most of its vast land bank for commercial and residential regeneration. In setting up the £20m Allerdale Investment Partnership in February 2014 with strategic site assembly and land development specialist the Lucent Strategic Land Fund, it brought forward 15 sites totalling more than 156 acres for redevelopment that will have a gross development value of £200m on completion.
The constraints of location meant a large office complex was out of the question, so the partnership has concentrated on providing retail and leisure opportunities to the commercial property world and up to 600 new homes.
It has just struck a deal with supermarket Lidl to sell a site in Maryport, Cumbria, which it worked with to grant planning permission for a 24,000 sq ft store - which will be its largest UK store.
In addition, a decision to grant outline planning permission for a 290-home scheme on Ashfield Road, Workington, is due next month. It is also working on three sites to house hotel operators.
“We have developed a masterplan with the council on a huge amount of assets that is more commercial than the council would normally have planned,” says Pram Nayak, Project Manager of the Allerdale Investment Partnership. “Most of it is on council-owned land that wouldn’t normally be used and something private investors normally don’t like. These are interesting locations and some investors don’t realise how economically viable these towns are.”