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11th January 2002
Pilot project to kick-start regeneration in priority areas

An innovative pilot project that will help to kick-start regeneration in three priority investment areas in Leicester has been introduced by the city council.

Under the scheme, the city council will waive its requirement for affordable housing to be included within developers' proposals - if their planning applications are for the St George's, Frog Island and Old Town areas of the city.

The pilot scheme follows a request from the Leicester Regeneration Company (LRC), which believed that the uncertainty, time and potential cost involved in negotiations around affordable housing were deterring prospective developers.

"We are delighted by the city council's decision," said Nigel Smith, acting chief executive of the LRC. "It sends a clear message to the market that Leicester means business, and that the city council is determined to secure the successful regeneration of the city.

"And it also shows that the council is prepared to think beyond the confines of conventional planning wisdom, if that's what it takes to make things happen."

The pilot scheme will apply to planning applications approved by March 31st 2003 in the three priority areas. Elsewhere in the city centre, the council will continue to seek the creation of affordable housing - as will the regeneration company as part of its commitment to widen housing choice. "Our hope is that this pilot will stimulate investment and regeneration in these three areas, making these sites more attractive to housing associations and other providers of affordable housing," said Cllr Ross Willmott, leader of the city council.

"We remain fully committed to the provision of affordable housing, but we have also been seeking innovative ways to assist the development of these key areas. This pilot scheme will send a strong message to potential developers that Leicester is a city that wants to work with them."

To get things moving quickly, planning permissions given under the pilot project will be limited by condition to start within 18 months, rather than the usual five years. This condition will allow the council to reconsider its position at the end of the pilot project, while ensuring that lengthy negotiations over Section 106 agreements can be avoided.



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