We will establish a Revolving Fund to unlock stalled brownfield sites in order to deliver energy efficient, modern homes and workspaces to meet the needs of a growing and dynamic city economy. In many cases, the sites will be bought through the Revolving Fund and then sold on to a developer, and the fund could be used to absorb costs involved in acquisitions eg through Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs).
There are various sites across Norwich which the Revolving Fund could be used to target. Many of these sites are derelict or eyesores, and in some cases are attracting antisocial behaviour. In many cases, the council has been working to get these sites developed for over ten years, without success due to the lack of a viable CPO option. In effect, there is a market failure as some landlords choose not to develop or sell their sites, but hold out for unrealistic valuations. This stifles development at key sites in the city.
The Revolving Fund will change this by providing the resources to cover the costs and risks associated with CPO. The Towns Fund will provide the necessary resources and cover the costs in the unlikely event that the CPO process is unsuccessful.
The council’s intervention via CPO in intended to demonstrate that it will be proactive in ensuring underutilised sites are brought forward for development. This will foster a positive environment for investment by the private sector. Ongoing CPO activity will encourage landowners to bring sites forward rather than land banking them.
Sites vary in size and some may be packaged together. There is to be a mix of sites for both commercial and housing use.
Site selection and acquisition will be managed through the council’s existing assessment, funding and governance processes for large investments. This will ensure that each process is given thorough and proper assessment, and ultimately will only proceed with Cabinet approval.