A £32m funding shortfall has stymied the progress of several council projects, and the authority is considering various solutions including the creation of a mayoral development corporation.
Tameside Council leader Brenda Warrington said that forming an MDC similar to that in Stockport was one of the options being considered to speed up project delivery.
The Stockport MDC – the first in the city region – is a partnership between Stockport Council and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham that aims to take advantage of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s devolved powers and increased access to funding to drive development.
Stockport MDC aims deliver up to 3,500 homes and 1m sq ft of new employment floorspace across 130 acres in the town centre.
“The development corporation does have some benefits, definitely,” Warrington told a meeting of the Tameside Council’s capital monitoring panel earlier this week.
“We have not made any decisions at this stage, we are letting [Stockport] be the pilot, but if it is something we see is going to benefit us then we would look at doing it.”
Tameside has racked up a £32m funding shortfall due to not selling enough sites and making enough in capital receipts. As a result, the current capital programme is unaffordable and the council is reviewing its regeneration priorities, it said.
“All schemes will be subject to review, and a refreshed and reprioritised capital programme will be proposed to members for approval,” said Cllr Caroline Barlow, assistant director of finance at Tameside Council.
The programme features the 2,300-home Godley Green Garden Village, the relocation of Droylsden Library and the demolition of Denton’s swimming pool to make way for housing.
Earmarked schemes within the capital programme would cost £40m to deliver but the council is only forecasted to accrue £7.2m from capital receipts from site disposals.
As well as reviewing its regeneration priorities, the council is reviewing its estate with the aim of developing a further pipeline of surplus sites for disposal to fund capital projects.
Tameside’s Conservative leader Doreen Dickinson criticised the council for acting too slowly to review the capital programme, bemoaning a series of delays to the approval of projects including the refurbishment of Ashton Town Hall.
“This lack of action is not building any confidence whatsoever in any ambitions the council has going forward,” Dickinson said.
“Stockport is announcing a major refurbishment of its town centre, what is the ambition of this council?” she asked.