The Investment Plan should set out a clear vision of the area, focusing on its assets, opportunities and challenges and will be used to establish the business case supporting any funding applications. It should set out investment priorities that will drive economic growth in the short, medium, and long term, and be supported by clear evidence and targeted investment. This should include activity that can be locally funded, projects that could be supported by public investment (including through the Towns Fund) and any ambitions for private sector investment and community involvement. The Government's guidance indicates that this should include urban/physical regeneration activity; skills and enterprise infrastructure; and connectivity.
Town Investment Plans should also seek to make full use of existing powers, particularly in planning and should complement other pre-existing strategy documents that have been developed with local partners as well as the wider strategic approach being taken through initiatives such as the Northern Powerhouse to join up and co-ordinate potential investment in Dewsbury.
The amount of investment from the Towns Fund will be determined based on the strength of the Towns Investment Plan amongst other relevant factors. Up to £25m will be made available to each of the 101 towns that are participating in the Towns Fund programme. The majority of this funding is expected to be capital rather than revenue. The Investment Plan will set out how Towns Fund support will leverage additional public and private investment and outline the outputs that will be achieved. It is therefore critical that the Investment Plan is well thought through, with a robust evidence base that clearly demonstrates joined up thinking and value for money.
In order to meet Government's timetable a Town Investment Plan will need to be in place by the end of summer 2020. In order to ensure that the plan meets the appropriate quality threshold and is delivered against these tight timescales it is proposed that the work is procured from external consultants via the Councilâ€™s procurement framework using the capacity funding provided by Government.
Subject to the Town Board agreement a full tender brief will be prepared to support this and will be brought back to the Town Board for endorsement.
Building on the existing North Kirklees story, we would expect the plan to capture existing investment plans and funding, identify new opportunities for catalytic projects and draw down additional public and private sector funding. In particular the plan should seek to engage private investors and developers early to identify opportunities for additional private investment and collaboration across the Towns Fund geography.
Anticipated outputs would include a clear articulation of the strategic vision for the area, a prioritised list of targeted and costed projects and investments needed to deliver this vision (including suggested phasing and a clear articulation of the additional value the Towns Fund will bring), and a clear set of outputs or KPIs against which the plan can be measured.
Investment Plan recommendations
- That the board endorse the commissioning of the Investment Plan from external consultants.
- That a detailed brief be developed by Kirklees Council on behalf of the Town Board and be brought back to the Town Board for agreement.