ADD2343 Bellingham Context Study

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2343
Date signed: 
23 April 2019
Decision by: 
Patrick Dubeck, Senior Regeneration Programme Manager

Executive summary

Approval is sought to commission a context study of the Bellingham local centre in the London Borough of Lewisham. This study will inform potential future Good Growth Fund capital bids in this location and create a located urban study for this area. It will define, assess and analyse the current condition of the core study area, its heritage, context and characteristics to create a future opportunities and constraints framework.

The commission will be a standalone piece of work with a value up to £25,000 to be funded from the Good Growth Fund Development Funding budget.

Decision

That the Head of Regeneration approves expenditure of up to £25,000 to appoint consultants to undertake the Bellingham Context Study.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

MD2163 approved up to £6.088m in revenue support funding for the Good Growth Fund (GGF). GGF revenue support funding is targeted to build a balanced programme with the specific aim of ensuring that the range of objectives set out in the prospectus are achieved across London’s geography. Three categories of support are offered to support the development of a balanced programme and the research that is the subject of this decision will sit under (b) Research and Evidence base:

a) Development Funding - to provide GGF applicants with support in meeting their project design and development costs including feasibility, viability, business planning and commercial/property advice to demonstrate need, improve quality and shape and influence the delivery of targeted outcomes, with a view to submitting a full future funding bid. This assists in the delivery of a balanced programme and assists with providing a pipeline of good projects;

b) Research and Evidence base - to support a series of research commissions which inform and influence the direction and emphasis of funding calls over the lifetime of the programme; and

c) Due Diligence — to support the GLA in undertaking technical assessment of grant funding and loan applications. This will include advice on property, valuation, cost/value for money and sustainability.

From this revenue funding of £6.088m, £3.658m has been indicatively allocated at a programme level for Development Funding. MD2163 approved Round 1 Development funding and the process to bring forward proposals for approval between rounds, which relates to this piece of work.

This context study sits under the Development Funding support and will work to support Phoenix Community Housing (PCH) in understanding the context of Bellingham, Lewisham, and related opportunities and constraints of the area to inform a potential future capital bid to the GGF.

Bellingham is located in LB Lewisham, an inner London borough with high levels of deprivation, with some of the highest levels found in Bellingham. Whilst well connected, it is a peripheral borough site on the Lewisham boundary and has suffered from a lack of investment.

PCH is a not-for-profit resident-led Housing Association in the Bellingham, Whitefoot and Downham area of Lewisham, London. The first Housing Association in London to use the Community Gateway approach, PCH empowers tenants and leaseholders to take a central part in decision-making and to become shareholding members. Tenants and leaseholders elected by residents are the largest group on the main board and have powers to take local decisions through a structure of neighbourhood and special interest panels. They were recently awarded a multimillion-pound Heritage Lottery Funding grant to refurbish the Fellowship inn at the heart of Bellingham local centre.

PCH is a significant stakeholder in Bellingham and have identified the local centre has opportunities for future strategic intervention. Building on the Fellowship Inn investment, this commission will engage architectural consultants to undertake a detailed context study of Bellingham local centre to inform any future investment.

There is a need to assess the area in detail at a variety of scales, ensuring that the context of the area is well understood to inform any future agenda. This commission will enable a coordinated approach to this, also providing a framework to inform future potential projects.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The study will develop holistic place-based assessments and analysis that will consider the broad-range of GGF challenges in its outcomes. These are to develop civic infrastructure; back small business; secure and create workspace; intensify London’s local economies; build skills and employability; deliver community-led regeneration; enhance public space and share culture.

Based on the strategic aims of the GGF, the Bellingham context study will inform the future projects that will support the following wider objectives:

• to enhance local distinctiveness and the quality of the town centre environment creating an active local centre that celebrates a sense of place, identity and community;
• to support the high street and enhance the economic resilience of local retail and leisure businesses and to cater for a range of morning, daytime and evening experiences to increase the economic vibrancy of the area;
• to harness the economic benefits created by increased footfall as a result of the investment in the redevelopment of the Fellowship Inn as a new entertainment and arts venue;
• to support existing residents by creating new employment and training opportunities in Bellingham informed by the local need;
• to support improvements to the provision of structured learning and recreation activities for local young people;
• to enhance the quality of the public realm with a focus on ground floor uses and new routes and open spaces including the Fellowship Inn;
• understand the connections with the industrial sites and the contribution to economic activity in the local centre;
• build on existing social capital so that local communities feel ownership of proposals that may come forward in future; and
• increased satisfaction, and footfall, with the local centre across all levels of the community.

A key objective of the GGF development funding is to work with a wide range of partners (ie. other than established public sector bodies) and build organisations’ capacity to deliver regeneration projects. This will inform learning to shape future programmes and encourage detailed engagement with place specific issues and opportunities to improve the impact of Mayoral investments.

This study therefore provides an opportunity to work with a not-for-profit resident-led housing association which is a partner typology new to the GGF. PCH manage more than 6,000 homes in South London, support a substantial programme of community initiatives and encourage tenants to take part in decision making to influence their local areas. This one-off investment will support PCH as partners in potentially creating a future capital bid to the GGF.

The total budget required to deliver the study is £25,000. To allow the GGF development funding to work with a wide variety of delivery partners, there is no set requirement for match funding. As PCH is a not-for-profit organisation they are not in a position to match this funding and therefore we are requesting funds for the full cost of the study solely from the GLA GGF development funding budget.

The GLA will undertake a procurement exercise with PCH to appoint consultants to deliver the context study. The funding would be granted to PCH as the delivery partner and will be supervised by the GLA Regeneration and Economic Development team; the two organisations will sit together as the client team. Wider involvement from the community, borough and other stakeholders will inform the process and outcomes of the study.

Equality comments

The work set out in the study is intended to inform future investment in Bellingham and consider the areas opportunities and constraints with regards to community led regeneration that is inclusive of all. One of the key aims of PCH is to support local community initiatives to improve the environment and quality of life for everyone who lives and works in Lewisham, which this work will support.

As a condition of GGF funding agreements, projects awarded funding will be required to meet the Public Sector Equality Duty and demonstrate this through regular reporting of progress.

This study is not expected to have any negative impact on persons with a protected characteristic under the Equality Act.

Other considerations

a) Key risks and issues:

The risk is that there is difficulty in engaging stakeholders and communities. Therefore, chosen consultants and the client team (GLA, PCH) must maintain clear and open engagement with the communities in Bellingham to ensure inclusion of all in consultations, as well as manage expectations. The client team will monitor this throughout the production of the study and work with LB Lewisham to understand borough priorities and focus in relation to the study and future ambitions.

There is a risk that the delivery partner does not apply for GGF round 3. Whilst one of the aims for this work is to inform a future bid to the GGF, this is not an essential requirement of the funding. The study brief has been reviewed by the local borough and a significant landowner in the area to secure support at an early stage which may assist with the production of a future successful GGF application.

b) Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities:

This study will meet the GGF actions as outlined in 2.1 as well as the following key wider programme objectives of the GGF:

• To work with a wider range of delivery partners than previous GLA funding programmes, other than established public sector bodies and build organisations’ capacity to deliver regeneration projects. This will inform learning to shape future programmes and encourage detailed engagement with place specific issues and opportunities to improve the impact of Mayoral investments. This study provides an opportunity to work with a new partner typology to the GGF. This one-off investment will support PCH as partners in building capacity and knowledge to help inform any potential future capital bids to the GGF.
• Invest across a wide geographic spread in London: this commission will invest in a borough border location with a historic lack of investment. In rounds 1 and 2 of the GGF there were no successful capital bids in this borough; by supporting this commission with development funding, there is an increased chance of improving this geographic spread.
• Supporting future GGF capital bids: this commission works to support the strategic aims of the GGF and help to develop capacity, skills and knowledge in Bellingham that could develop into future GGF bids for round 3.

It aligns with the Mayoral report High Streets for All, which drew on LEAP funding to set out a strategic narrative for high streets and establish the economic, social and environmental value they play. This study will focus on the Randlesdown Road high street area as the core local centre in line with these agendas. The Economic Development Strategy also correlates by supporting the economic and social properties of high streets and town centres.

Financial comments

The estimated cost of £25,000 for this study will be funded from the Good Growth Fund Development budget for 2019-2020 held within the Regeneration and Economic Development Unit.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contract

May 2019

Announcement of successful consultant

May 2019

Delivery Start Date

Jun 2019

Delivery End Date

Sep 2019

Project Closure

Sep 2019