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Wednesday 14 November 2012

Council moves to boost use of its land and assets


Cheshire East Council is to take steps to speed up and simplify the process for developing Council land and assets.

The aim is to boost the authority’s ability to use its property as effectively as possible to generate wealth, jobs and much-needed housing – and support the renaissance of Cheshire East’s towns and communities.

Currently the authority has to undertake time-consuming, expensive and bureaucratic European procurement procedures to select development partners by competitive bidding for each project individually (via the OJEU procedure).

Now the Council is proposing to create a streamlined ‘delivery panel’ of appointed partners and service providers, called a new developer framework.

This new panel would provide the Council with a one-stop shop for development and construction-related works and services. Developers and services would then be procured via streamlined ‘mini-competitions’.

The panel is a fast and simple way to procure services for every stage of the development process from appraisal to construction for Council land and assets. Services include: Project appraisal; project and programme management; finance and funding; planning; design and technical advice; construction; sales and marketing.

This framework panel system has the benefits of delivering:

● Fast and simple procurement;

● Access to a pre-qualified list of high-quality providers across a range of disciplines;

● A flexible range of services and expertise; and

● A choice of high-quality housing and construction providers.

The Council’s assets service is responsible for managing Cheshire East land and property worth more than £600m. Increasingly, the Council is committed to promoting economic growth, regeneration and new housing development through the smarter use of its land and property portfolio.

Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cabinet member in charge of prosperity and economic regeneration, said: “We want to gather a portfolio of best-in-class companies – a mixture of top local and international developer partners. We believe that Cheshire East deserves the best.

“This framework will help the Council bring forward development opportunities more efficiently, strategically and speed up the development process.

“This will generate money for the Council to plough back into frontline services and capital projects, which will help deliver wider regeneration benefits to the people of Cheshire East, stimulating jobs and economic growth.

“The Council has a responsibility to local Council Tax payers to manage its landholdings and property assets as effectively and efficiently as possible. The creation of a ‘new developer framework’ panel will help the Council deliver this.

“The framework will make the procurement process faster and simpler and more in accordance with the Council’s corporate objectives and priorities.

“There is also a need for a significant number of new homes in the Borough over the period of the next Local Plan. The Council has a responsibility to make land and property available to help facilitate the new development required.”

The new framework agreement will run for a maximum of four years.

The proposed timetable for the creation of the framework would see the Council inviting tenders submissions by July 2013, with the panel of contractors and developers in place soon afterwards.

Frameworks of this kind have been embraced by a number of high-performing local authorities and Homes and Communities Agency. They are also generally supported by private-sector developers, consultants and housing associations as an efficient way to bring assets to market.

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