English Partnerships Investment Strategy for Coventry and Nuneaton

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					                                                                                      AGENDA NO. 15

                                           21st October 1997

              Report of the Director of Planning, Transport and Economic Strategy

     English Partnerships Investment Strategy for Coventry and Nuneaton
                       and Bedworth: Progress Report


Councillors C Baldry, I C Bottrill, J J Burton, H W De'Ath, A J Farnell, J Haynes, M Heatley,
B J Longden, F McCarney, R McIntosh, L F Reynolds, Mrs J A Tandy, U S Todner, S R Tooth,
Mrs D I Webster


This report provides an overview of current activity regarding English Partnerships (EP) Investment
Strategy for Coventry and Nuneaton and Bedworth, which was formally launched in June of this year.
Appendix A provides the status on individual sites. The report also addresses how implementation of
the Strategy relates to the emerging Warwickshire Structure Plan (WASP) and other relevant policies.

1.      Introduction

1.1      Members will recall that in March of this year this Sub-Committee considered English
Partnerships Investment Strategy for Coventry and Nuneaton and Bedworth. The Sub-Committee's
resolution included an endorsement of the Strategy and a commitment to work closely with the
Borough Council and EP "to ensure that the greatest opportunities are taken for the benefit of local
residents". Copies of the Strategy were sent to Members in August this year.

2.      Working Towards Implementation

2.1    EP are pleased with the high level of activity that the Strategy has generated and it is
encouraging that interest from partners is higher than in other areas where Strategies have been
produced. Council officers have been actively involved in helping to bring forward sites.

2.2      At Poole Road, Nuneaton, (Category 1 site), the County Council has been successful in
achieving funds from the ERDF RECHAR programme, towards the development of a 929 sq m
(10,000 sq ft) business centre on the industrial estate, as part of a wider proposal involving
improvements to security and landscaping, lighting and signs on the estate. The scheme has
attracted private sector investment. An application for EP funding has been made and is under
consideration. The improvements are intended to make the site more attractive to investors and
increase the confidence of companies, retaining existing employment and providing new. The scheme
highlights the opportunities that can be made using existing sites, to benefit local residents, overcome
dereliction and assist the local economy. This scheme is likely to be underway shortly.

2.3      Progress has been positive on all of the Category 1 schemes (Appendix A), where
applications to EP have, or are due to be submitted shortly for funding. It is hoped most of the
schemes will be started in 1998.

2.4     Midland Quarry is the only Category 2 scheme in the Strategy, in Warwickshire. Discussions
are being held with the site owners, Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council and EP to examine fill
options to restore the site, utilising rail access. The feasibility of filling with spoil from other
Warwickshire sites is being actively examined. After uses will be considered as part of the Nuneaton
and Bedworth Borough Local Plan review, (due to commence in early 1998) and in the context of the
emerging Warwickshire Structure Plan (WASP) strategy. Whilst current discussions on bringing
forward a reclamation scheme are welcomed, the degree of funding necessary to deliver the scheme
appears a real constraint to implementation. English Partnerships or other funding would be a key to
delivery of the site. Partnership working with EP, the LAs and site owners must be actively pursued
and commitment from all sides secured. The reclamation of this site is important, given its location to
other key sites, including Judkins, which have the potential to assist economic regeneration in

2.5      Of the Category 3 sites, Coventry Colliery/Keresley and Judkins are both the subject of
ongoing discussions. Any reclamation scheme for Coventry Colliery will need to be prepared in
conjunction with Coventry City Council. The redevelopment of Judkins should be examined with
regard to the opportunity for linking in with any proposals for Midland Quarry and the wider local
authority remit for focusing on West Nuneaton.

2.6      Implementation of the EP Strategy, utilising existing brown field sites and making the most of
redevelopment opportunities, is consistent with both existing and emerging structure plan policy,
particularly where sites offer the potential for using rail/canal access. Many of the sites in the EP
Strategy will also contribute to meeting some of the industrial needs identified in WASP, including
provision of land to assist both small and larger industrial users. Where reclamation schemes do bring
forward industrial development, implementation schemes will need to ensure support services and
training are available, to allow the local labour force to take up new employment in keeping with the
aims of both the County's and other agencies economic development strategies.

2.7       EP will be reviewing the Strategy in Spring 1998, with partners. A review of site categories
and priorities will be needed as part of the annual review, to maintain a focus on key sites and bring
together the relevant Authorities and owners, to achieve results. It is suggested that the existing site
priorities be reviewed, to give higher priority to the redevelopment of sites which can be linked to other
sites in the Strategy and in particular those which are in areas of highest deprivation.

3.      Conclusion

3.1      EP welcomes the progress made to date to bring forward brown field sites in the Strategy, as
outlined in Appendix A. Taken together with the County Council's own priorities for community and
economic regeneration in Western Nuneaton, there are several schemes being brought forward which
will help benefit the economic and social regeneration of Nuneaton and Bedworth.

3.2        The County Council will be actively involved with EP and the Borough Council in the review of
the EP Investment Strategy for Nuneaton and Bedworth. The work with EP will assist in focusing
attention on areas of greatest deprivation for both EP and County Council investment and improve the
chances of getting European funding for new projects. This is particularly important given that
eligibility for ERDF Objective 2 funding is under review and access to grants cannot be guaranteed
beyond 1999.


That this Sub-Committee:

1.      Conveys to English Partnerships the continuing active support of the County Council
for the involvement of EP within the sub-region and reinforces the County Council's
willingness to pursue implementation of the Strategy.

2.     Suggests that as part of the Strategy review, consideration is given to the existing site
categories, with a view to giving higher priority to the redevelopment of sites which can be
linked to other sites in the Strategy and to those sites which are in areas of highest

John Deegan
Director of Planning, Transport and Economic Strategy
Shire Hall

15th October 1997


Enquiries about this report should be made to Mandy Walker, telephone (01926) 412843