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Regeneration firms borrow public cash

LOCAL AUTHORITIES and English Partnerships are effectively lending roads cash to a private developer so that it can kick start a South Midlands regeneration project, it emerged this week.

The money will be repaid as the project attracts tenants.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister said this week it wanted new funding methods to be explored as re eneration work gets under way.

'The obvious key challenge for engineers is transport infrastructure, ' said ODPM head of regeneration David Edwards.

'We are looking for new ways to fund projects, such as the revolving funds we are seeing in Milton Keynes and West Bedfordshire. We are open to all new ideas, ' he added.

Edwards was speaking after addressing the Consultants 100 Breakfast Club at NCE's Civils 2005 on Tuesday.

'We can fund more transport infrastructure if developers are prepared to share the cost, ' he said.

Edwards said that the government had a major challenge in delivering affordable housing to get first-time buyers onto the property ladder. It also wants to develop UK cities so that their economies rival the strongest urban centres in continental Europe.

'It is an incredibly busy time at the moment, and by the end of this year we will see some significant elements of forward planning, such as a new planning policy statement for housing, emerging principals for development of core cities and new funding arrangements for local infrastructure, ' he said.

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