Councils: Move rather than close facilities to release development funding

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Posted in:Litigation, Real Estate|July 30, 2013 | Join the mailing list

Moving rather than controversially closing popular local authority-run or supported facilities such as libraries or theatres could help unlock hidden development funding sources and allow business to get at the money the banks say is there but strangely

Ian Barker, Partner and Head of Real Estate here at Manchester law firm Berg, says that it’s never going to be easy extracting funding from currently super-cautious sources, but it’s definitely
there – and local town halls are crucial to tipping the balance.

"When developments have stalled, developers, their advisers, even the public, should be working hard to encourage their local council to commit to putting a  public sector-based service in, because anything with a government covenant is fundable – therefore
funding for neighbouring commercial development is a great deal easier to get once the Government has committed," said Ian Barker.

"In addition to this, councils could open up funding possibilities for the commercial sector involved in same-location development by simply moving rather than closing council facilities. This in turn may actually release funding resource, maintain and improve
that facility for the local area.

"Similarly, local authorities can actively seek development suggestions from local people, businesses and professional advisers that could be kick-started by bringing in fundable projects.

"Ironically, if a local authority does close a popular and well-performing facility – which has a lot of loyalty from the local population – and moves it to a new development, then that loyalty is going to follow. If there’s footfall, then that becomes attractive
to potential funders of neighbouring commercial development.

"It might also be a privately-operated service, retail outlet or leisure facility that is considered to be an important element of community life – whether it’s important geographically, or to a particular section of the community.

"There are quite a few examples of this across the country – everything from cafes and theatres to quango offices. The common factor is that government covenant."

For more information about any of the above or for practical commercial advice on this or any other aspect of property law, please contact
Ian Barker, Head of the Berg Real Estate Department on 0161 833 9211 or email him at

The information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Berg or any of its partners or employees. Professional legal advice should
be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

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