Preston City Living Strategy

City Living Strategy Implementation

Client: Preston City Council

Image Credit: Heaton Group

The Preston City Living Strategy (CLS) is an exemplary approach to identifying, unlocking and kick-starting the delivery of brownfield housing sites. This award winning strategy for regeneration and maximising the development potential of brownfield land (in public and private ownership) has been pivotal in increasing the supply of housing for Preston. It is underpinned by a robust methodology which can be rolled out in other local authority areas facing similar challenges in delivering stalled residential sites.

Preston has experienced unprecedented housing growth in recent years from a base of 5 net completions in 2009/10 to 785 in 2018/19. However this growth has been concentrated in peripheral suburban locations, with limited new homes coming from the city centre and inner urban areas. The CLS was designed to redress the balance of housing delivery by supporting and stimulating development in the city centre and inner urban areas for both private sale and affordable housing. Working closely with Council officers, Hive were instructed to provide wide ranging support including: strategy design; project planning; governance; application of methodology; reporting; implementation; brokering; and stakeholder engagement.

The CLS represents a pro-active response to market failure around the delivery of housing within inner Preston, with Hive’s input summarised around the following tasks:

  • Drafting and adoption of a detailed strategy and programme to unlock 48 residential sites with a capacity of 3,500+ new homes;
  • Production of a PID, implementation plan, site prioritisation matrix, area based promotion and marketing documents, and individual proformas for each site including an analysis of the interventions required to de-risk the sites;
  • A landowner engagement strategy and extensive engagement with funding bodies (including Homes England) aimed at specifically addressing viability challenges;
  • Project managing LAAC funding from Homes England to de-risk two PCC-owned sites, providing up to 100 new homes which will be built by an SME builder or RP using Modern Methods of Construction;
  • Advising on the establishment of a Council-led Housing Delivery vehicle, with the objective of developing Council owned land, stimulating developing in inner urban areas and increasing the delivery of affordable housing;
  • Commissioning and adoption of a detailed regeneration masterplan for a historically underperforming area of Stoneygate, adjacent to the City Centre; and
  • Drafting a CLS investment prospectus to directly market the sites to developers, as well as providing information on the type of interventions PCC should consider to unlock these stalled sites.

The strategy adopted has specifically sought to attract interest from local SME developers, linking it to supporting the PCC’s approach of maximising local spend, known as the Preston Model. The above measures have had very positive early results in increasing housing delivery within Inner Preston. In time this will demonstrate a comprehensive approach to the growth of central Preston through delivering housing to complement the wider economic growth and place making aspirations of the City Council. As a mark of the projects innovation and success, PCC and Hive won the 'Increased Housing Delivery' category in the national Planning Awards (2020), as well as the Editor’s Award for best national overall planning project.

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