MIPIM | £200m ECF consortium commits to another 10 years 

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Homes England, Muse Developments and Legal & General aim to deliver an additional 6,600 homes and 2m sq ft of commercial space through The English Cities Fund up to December 2036, a move that gives security to long-term regeneration projects in Salford and St Helens. 

ECF is delivering town centre redevelopment projects in St Helens and Earlestown and the £2.5bn Salford Crescent masterplan. Together those schemes will deliver around 4,000 of the 6,600-home target.  

The 10-year extension of ECF, announced at MIPIM, will enable the consortium to “continue to deliver against its mission to transform deprived, urban areas and create exceptional new places across England, tripling its development potential to date,” it said. 

St Helens strategy  

ECF has partnered with St Helens Council to bring forward opportunities to sustainably repurpose and regenerate St Helens town centre and Earlstown by delivering a new market hall, grade-A office space, high-quality, town-centre homes, active transport infrastructure, along with extensive public realm improvements.  

This vision was bought one step closer to reality in February 2022, when the council’s cabinet signed off on the Masterplan Development Frameworks, prior to a planning application later this year. 

Salford Crescent vision 

ECF secured a major £2.5bn, 240-acre scheme at Salford Crescent in partnership with Salford City Council and the University of Salford, which will bring more than 3,000 homes, alongside up to 1m sq ft of space to innovate and collaborate, 1m sq ft of offices, retail, leisure and a new multi-modal transport hub with active travel at its heart to the city, all set within swathes of green space. 

Plans for a major infrastructure and public-realm project, Salford Rise, which received £13.17m from the first lot of Levelling Up Funding, were lodged earlier this week. 

St Helens Regen 2, ECF, P.St Helens Council

ECF has committed to the redevelopment of St Helens. Credit: via Lexington

Reaction to the extension of ECF

Housing Minister, Stuart Andrew: 

“Regenerating urban areas and transforming brownfield sites into thriving communities is integral to levelling up the country.  

“Through the English Cities Fund, the public and private sector are working hand in hand to create high-quality new homes and jobs in areas that need them most.  

Sir Michael Lyons, chair of ECF: 

“Our towns and cities are the engine rooms of our economy. By bringing together the investment and regeneration skills of Homes England, Legal & General and Muse Developments, we are uniquely equipped to help in reshaping and strengthening local economies. Our ability to work at pace but with focus on long-term impact makes us an outstanding partner for ambitious communities.” 

Peter Denton, chief executive officer at Homes England: 

“The English Cities Fund has a track record of successfully taking on challenging schemes that the private sector alone has not been able to deliver. Bringing together the best of the public and private sector, it has set the benchmark for what good regeneration looks like. 

“Reconfirming our commitment to ECF marks a significant step forward as we mobilise our resources to deliver against the government’s Levelling Up agenda, creating vibrant new places, jobs, homes and opportunities across the country.” 

Kate Bowyer, managing director at Muse Developments, said: 

“Since 2001, ECF has been critical in delivering levelling up projects in towns and cities in need, driving tangible, generational benefits to all areas of a community. 

“ECF is a unique partnership between the public and private sector that consistently delivers. Extending its life highlights our collective commitment to improving homes, lives and communities, through the delivery of inclusive, connected places.” 

Bill Hughes, head of LGIM Real Assets, said: 

“For 20 years the English Cities Fund partnership has been delivering disruptive regeneration – it’s a major example of the impact and opportunity that come as a result of public and private sector collaboration. But, more work is needed to continue to level up our UK towns and cities. The extension of the English Cities Fund will play a key role in ensuring we truly level up and transform those areas most in need. As we extend the fund we are confident that we will have more opportunities to deliver urban developments which show real imagination, and unlock value for our partners and their communities.” 

Since forming in 2001, ECF has worked in partnership with councils, landowners, and key community stakeholders to “transform forgotten places into thriving, mixed-use communities, and unlock further private investment”, the consortium said. 

As well as the North West, the partnership has delivered projects in Wakefield, Plymouth and Canning Town, among others, developing 1,801 homes and more than 1m sq ft of commercial, retail and leisure space.

Place North West MIPIM 2022 coverage is sponsored by Castle Green Homes.

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