Supporting residential growth and high street transformation

The preparation of Green Book business cases is a recurring theme in ekosgen’s workload with our skills applied to a variety of funding streams and forms of intervention. Over the last 10 years we have prepared successful business cases that have secured over £450m of investment for our clients to deliver diverse projects including Factory (a major cultural development in Manchester), Nottingham City Hub,  the International Screen School Manchester (now known as SODA), Chorley Digital Office Park and the extension of Follingsby Enterprise Zone.   

Reflecting the current focus of government funding, the team’s recent workload has included the preparation of business cases for two major initiatives – the Housing Infrastructure Fund and Future High Streets Fund. Tackling prominent issues regarding the future of the high street and the need to accelerate rates of housing development to satisfy demand, these commissions have allowed us to apply our case making skills to issues that are pertinent across the country and impact on economic performance.

Whilst many places are seeking to deliver programmes of change, public sector support is still commonly required to overcome market failures and unlock delivery with a robust business case submission needed to kickstart development. With a set process to be followed for Green Book purposes and a focus on achieving a strong benefit to cost ratio linked to land value uplift, there remain challenges to places in the greatest need of intervention, particularly in the north of England, making their case in a competitive funding environment. This reflects the low values that continue to be achieved in the north – even post-intervention and particularly away from the major cities – relative to parts of the south of England.

In early 2019, ekosgen worked on four Future High Streets Fund expressions of interest, helping clients to make the case for investment in their town and city centres. With struggling high profile retailers continuing to make headlines and a recognised need for high streets to adapt to changes including changing shopping patterns and falling footfall, a new approach – including the diversification of uses – is needed to allow high streets to effectively deliver their important role in local communities and economies. The team is now preparing two town centre Future High Streets Fund full business cases, working closely with clients and wider members of multi-disciplinary teams to develop plans that respond to local challenges and opportunities as well as satisfying the fund’s assessment criteria around value for money (50%), deliverability (30%) and strategic fit (20%).

Our work on Housing Infrastructure Fund business cases has helped make the case for packages of infrastructure works needed to unlock housing development in inner urban areas that face multiple challenges. Working with partners in Manchester and Salford – where demand for homes is high but the supply of viable sites around the city core is now limited – ekosgen worked as part of a multi-disciplinary team, in close liaison with clients, to develop both propositions and position the plans for support. Our role has also included supporting the client teams to respond to questions raised during the clarification process.

For further information relating to ekosgen’s business case expertise please contact Kirsten Powell on 0845 644 3023 or kirsten.powell@ekosgen.co.uk.