Handforth Garden Village
Engine of the North is leading on plans for Handforth Garden Village

Cheshire East brings development team back in-house

Arms-length development organisations Engine of the North, and the Skills and Growth Company will be brought back under Cheshire East’s control later this summer.

Engine of the North, the council’s development vehicle formerly managed by Darran Lawless, now at Peel, is one of the entities to brought back in house. Projects on its books include the delivery of Handforth Garden Village, a 1,700-home site off the A34.

The Skills and Growth Company is responsible for funding and investment opportunities, job creation, and maximising growth; according to council figures, the arms-length organisation has generated £43m of capital investment over the last two years.

Both functions will become part of the council’s economic development function, after Cheshire East’s scrutiny committee signed off the proposals last month.

The transfer to council control is subject to a formal consultation with staff, and is expected to take place on 1 August 2019.

Frank Jordan, Cheshire East Council’s executive director of place, said: “Since establishing these two companies we have learned a great deal about working and partnering in the commercial sector but, like any large organisation, we do need to regularly and rigorously assess and review the competitiveness of the services we commission.

“Faced with increasing financial pressure, the realignment of funding will help the council provide a more efficient and effective way of driving our economic development programme forwards.

“This new approach will improve our ability to unlock growth and create new regeneration opportunities right across the borough.”

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