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Committee Agenda Item : Community and Environment Board - 19/03/2007. Item 06

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Agenda Item No 6

Community and Environment Board

19 March 2007
Report of the Assistant Director

(Planning and Development)

Reviving Enterprise in North Warwickshire (RENEW)

1 Summary

1.1 This report brings Members up to speed with a current project being developed by the Economic Development Team within Planning and Development. Advantage West Midlands (AWM) support so far suggests that the project should proceed to implementation. Attached to this report is the full application for submission to AWM.

2 Recommendation to the Board

a That the Board notes the progress towards securing these external funds;

b That in relation to Manor Road, Mancetter, once the grant offer and conditions are known a further report be brought to decide whether to continue work on this Council owned site including a decision whether to make a planning application; and

c That, in relation to the British Waterways project at Hartshill Wharf to receive and consider in due course further details as they relate to the Council’s adjoining land.

3 Background

3.1 The Economic Development team have for some time been lobbying AWM for funds for regeneration in North Warwickshire. Recent contact is suggesting that AWM are beginning to listen to this and indeed be more proactive about local projects. One current approach seeks to draw funds from the Nuneaton regeneration zone to spend on projects that will deliver potential benefits to residents thereof. In response the Council was invited to make an initial bid at relatively short notice in the summer of 2006 in order to secure funding for enterprise development associated with tourism and heritage, and along key spokes leading from the Regeneration Zone. A number of suggestions were made and from this, work at three locations was grouped to build small business start up space, bring derelict or underused heritage buildings back into use and indeed create value on a derelict and difficult to develop site owned by the Council. AWM are seeking spend on site by 31 March 2008.

3.2 A great deal of development work has been necessary to bring this project up to an implementable standard and the services of a regeneration consultant, accredited by AWM, have been used. This was considered and agreed by Management Team in July 2006 with limited funds being made available from the Councils Economic Development future projects fund. Shortly after this CSW Partnership Limited, impressed with the scope of the projects, offered further money for development. The Regeneration Action Group of Coventry and Nuneaton Regeneration Zone agreed to support the project at its meeting on 5 October 2006, subsequent to which an outline application was submitted on 4 January 2007. A copy of the outline bid is attached and a decision is expected by the end of April. Early indications are that this will be supported and if so a full application will be submitted to AWM in June 2007. The Council’s Conservation and Heritage champion and shadow champion have seen submissions made to date. The three site related projects are; -

        • Hartshill Wharf – land owned by British Waterways and potentially including land owned by North Warwickshire Borough Council. This is a heritage pearl on the canal string. It offers considerable potential for re-use and re-investment for small craft and design units in a traditional canalside setting with listed buildings and historic waterways related activities. Canal based tourism will be promoted in a way and to a level, which respects the historic setting. The Council owns adjoining land, which could be used on a limited basis for car parking. There is a nature reserve nearby and again appropriate access can be promoted as part of this project. British Waterways are leading and will implement this project.
        • Astley Castle is a Grade II* Listed building at risk with historic links to Lady Jane Gray. The castle, along with the church, are the main buildings in the village. In addition there are two sets of ancillary buildings that are now derelict and lend themselves to small workshop units, again associated with heritage, tourism and crafts development. At this stage it is proposed to convert one of these complexes, the farm buildings, with the stable block to follow in due course. The Arbury Estate is leading on this project. It includes car parking, which will serve wider village needs, and indeed there is recognition that a successful project here will help achieve the critical mass necessary to do something useful with the ruin of Astley Castle. Village regeneration in partnership with the Estate is a possible outcome longer term.
        • Mancetter Enterprise units – on underused land owned by North Warwickshire Borough Council. This land, of limited depth and adjoining the mainline railway, was previously considered in the Council’s Local Plan work and its use for housing was discounted. The land is open and occasionally used for parking by nearby residents and firms and is close to the main industrial units on Manor Road. It is liable to tipping and misuse and is a likely liability on the Council’s resources. To the north are areas of housing which exhibit levels of deprivation. Small start up units here would give an opportunity for enterprise creation by local residents. The four small units proposed would make good use of the northern third of the site and the grant attracted would create value and maybe a rental stream to benefit the Authority.
4 The Programme
        1. In the main grant funding will be used to pay for the majority if not all the capital costs of the works carried out by each owner. AWM would in actuality buy a series of outputs comprising new business floorspace, new business start-ups, jobs and training/business support.
4.2 There is however some uncertainty at this stage as to the nature of the grant offer that AWM may make and conditions upon this with regard to the Mancetter project, the buildings will become Council assets and there needs to be further consideration of the grant offer and conditions and indeed whether it is worthwhile for the Council to proceed.

4.3 There are a range of possible options being considered by AWM ranging from pure grant with no conditions or clawback through to a raft of conditions on outcomes like jobs and businesses created and clawback of rental income to provide on site business support. The impact of EU “state aid” rules will also have an impact here.

4.4 The nature of the AWM grant offer including conditions and clawback will not be known for a few weeks yet and a further report will need to be brought to Members to consider whether to proceed. In the meantime however it is clearly in the Council’s interest to pursue this external funding particularly as it will achieve Economic Development outcomes and may create asset value for the Council as landowner.

4.5 Attached at Appendix A is an example of what might evolve on the Mancetter site.

4.6 Aside from the nature of the funding, another major issue is the initial short timescale AWM are working towards – spend by end of March 2008. However there are now indications that this will be extended for good projects.

5 Planning Issues

5.1 Planning applications will be required for all three projects. These will be reported to the Council’s Planning and Development Board because of the Council’s involvement, rather than be dealt with under delegated powers. The primary concern for that Board will be to consider whether the proposals accord with the relevant part of the Development Plan, which in this case will be the North Warwickshire Local Plan 2006. This Plan contains the Council’ ;s planning policy approach on the re-use of rural buildings, traffic generation, visual amenity and potential impacts on neighbouring occupiers. Government Planning Guidance will also be considered, particularly that on the industrial and commercial development of small firms, and that on new development in the Green Belt in respect of the Astley site. Additionally, any other material planning considerations will be weighed in the balance. Of relevance here will be the Rural Framework for Action, the Community Plan and the Council’s Economic Strategy.

5.2 It is likely that determination of these applications would be within eight weeks of their submission.

6 Conservation and Heritage Issues

6.1 Hartshill Wharf and Astley Castle stables are two very important heritage assets for the Borough and need to be developed sensitively. In the case of Astley in particular, their owner sees the ancient monument (the castle) and its associated listed buildings (the stables) as a heavy financial burden. The prospect of attracting significant grant aid sufficient to encourage him to pursue the restoration and reuse of at least one of the buildings on the ‘ At Risk’ register (the stables) is therefore very attractive from the heritage point of view.

        2. Listed Building Consent will be required for both schemes and because of it status English Heritage will need to be consulted on the Astley Castle stables. Given the tight timescale for implementation this is a potentially challenging task but achievable.
        3. Ensuring that both the Hartshill and Astley schemes protect and where possible enhance the heritage significance of the sites and their constituent buildings, will be of paramount importance in determining listed building consent and planning applications.
7 Next Steps

7.1 The partners in the scheme need to consider the grant offer, conditions and clawback before the detailed and full application is made in June. If the project is to proceed planning applications will be made at this stage. Each owner will be responsible for implementation and in the case of North Warwickshire, paying for the necessary fees to achieve this.

        2. There has been a high level of urgency in this work because of AWM timescale requirements. From the outset it has been clear that the use of an accredited AWM Regeneration Consultant has made all the difference in gaining support and putting the necessary information in place. A Board decision to submit a planning application is respect of the Council’s own land will assist towards the necessary speedy implementation. The application would be made at the point of a favourable decision by AWM.
    8. Report Implications
        1. Financial Implications
8.1.1 Although the report highlights three schemes that the AWM funding is to be used for, it is only the Mancetter Project that will have any financial implications on the Council.

8.1.2 Using funding from Economic Development central reserves and Coventry and Warwickshire Partnerships Limited, we have been able to fund the consultants, ATI Projects, to undertake project development and feasibility work.

8.1.3 If the scheme goes ahead, the Council will be responsible for funding the planning application for the Mancetter site that will be approximately £ 800 and this will need to be funded from Economic Development budgets.

8.1.4 In terms of the long term funding of the units at Mancetter, attached as Appendix C are various worst case scenarios of the estimated whole life cycle costing.

8.1.5 The detailed costing includes a £50,000 income foregone in year 3. This relates to the actual site at Mancetter, as, when drawing up the long-term capital programme presented to the Executive Board last month, it was assumed that the Council would receive a capital receipt. If this scheme goes ahead, the receipt will not be generated and other capital projects will need to be reduced or deleted accordingly.

8.1.6 Over a 25-year period, if the Council were not able to retain any of the income, then the result would be a cost of approximately £107,000 to the Council. If some or all of the income were retained, after the sale of the asset at the end of the period, a financial benefit would have been achieved.

8.1.7 The whole purpose of the grant funding is to produce a certain set of outcomes from the projects in terms of economic regeneration. The consultants carrying out the application work on our behalf, view these outcomes as being low risk and so it is expected that after a 5-year period, these outcomes would have been achieved. If this is the case, AWM will be satisfied with their investment and “walk away” from the scheme. This then leaves the Council with the option to either sell the units or continue to rent them out and retain 100% of the income.

8.1.8 Over this 5-years, assuming the worst-case scenario in that we receive no income over this period, by selling the units, the Council would gain financially, albeit that revenue would need to be incurred to run the units on a day to day basis. If the outputs were not achieved within this period, the sale of the units would need to be delayed to a point whereby the outcomes were achieved and no claw back of investment was expected from AWM.

8.1.9 A number of issues therefore still need to be resolved. One key aspect is that AWM do not want any of their investment back once the outcomes are achieved and that these outcomes can be achieved within a 5 to 15 year period. Also, it needs to be clarified as to whether the Council will receive any rental income.

8.1.10 It should be noted that at this stage, the council is under no obligation to enter into any binding agreements and that the application can be withdrawn if the financial position is not determined to be viable. A further report will be brought to Board with more details once they are available to officers.

8.2 Human Resources Implications

8.2.1 To date, officer time has come from the Economic Development Team. It is anticipated that this will continue if approval be granted, with the need to call on other officers time in other teams on an ad hoc basis.

8.3 Portfolio Holder, Shadow Portfolio Holder and Ward Members Consultation

8.3.1 The Council’s Heritage and Conservation Champion and shadow champion have been sent copies of this report for comment, which will be tabled at the Board.

8.4 Links to Council’s Priorities

8.4.1 This project is being developed under Top ten 4 – working with partners to improve market towns and increase tourism and develop the Framework for rural Action.

The Contact Officer for this report is Hilary Goodreid, Economic Development Manager (719287).

Background Papers

Local Government Act 1972 Section 100D, as substituted by the Local Government Act, 2000 Section 97

Background Paper No
Nature of Background Paper


Mancetter Enterprise Workspace

The project is designed to provide pre-start and early start business facilities with a focus upon creating local opportunity for new enterprise activity. Plans have been drawn up and costed for two adjacent blocks made up of shared office space, individual offices and craft workspace. One of these blocks would house a reception area, meeting and training room. This unit would provide business incubation, meeting, training and information facilities and would be made up of shared and individual office space (total lettable area 88 sq m). The second block would be made up of 3 studio workshops on the ground floor (lettable area 55 sq m) and a range of 2 – 3 person offices on the first floor (lettable area 52 sq m). In total, the 2 buildings will provide 195 sq m of lettable area.

A valuation undertaken by Richard Lewis FRICS, NWBC Chartered Valuation Surveyor, stated that the market value of the freehold interest of the finished units would be £315,000. He further considered that the present day market value of the freehold interest of the cleared site with planning permission for the proposed development would be £70,000. Future likely rental value from the units will be around £75 per m² per annum for the three studio workshops and £120 per m² per annum for the office areas. It is the nature of early start premises offered to new businesses on short term licenses that full occupation will not be realised. At a realistic 75% occupancy, this has the potential for approximately £15,500 rental income per annum.

The project costs identified to develop this site are:

Construction costs (new build) – 360 m² workspace @ £900pm² £324,000

Road improvements, access, car parking £150,000

Fit-out and equipment estimate £ 61,200

Project development fees £ 9,480

Professional fees @ 12.5% £ 59,250

£ 608,930

Project establishment costs FY1 (revenue) £ 24,000

Community Enterprise Development FY1 (revenue) £ 10,000

£ 34,000

Total being requested from AWM £642,930

It is anticipated that AWM will allow the Council to retain all of the rents to offset the day-to-day running costs. However, it may be that only partial or no income is received if “state-aided” rules apply. Once all of the outputs are achieved on the site (estimated to be 5 years) AWM will relinquish the net rent to the Council and will allow it to sell the units if required.

Reviving Enterprise North Warwickshire (RENeW)

North Warwickshire Borough Council

RZ Outline Application

Submitted 4th January 2007

“North Warwickshire will become the location of choice for new and established creative and tourism enterprises, reviving business and job opportunities for rural and market town communities and maximising the rich cultural and historical


Please read the associated guidance notes carefully and seek any clarifications you need from your AdvantageWM Project Sponsor prior to completing this form.

    3. Project title awm rEf nO
    Project NameReviving Enterprise North Warwickshire (RENeW)
Start Date2007 Q3End Date2012 Q2AdvantageWM Funding£3,750,575
    4. Project applicant
    Tell us who you are and who will be working with you on this project
Delivery organisation nameNorth Warwickshire Borough Council (NWBC)
Contact nameHilary Goodreid, Economic Development Manager
Address The Council House South Street




Phone 01827 719287Fax 01827 719363
Legal statusBorough Council
Will you work with other organisations to deliver this project? Yes
If Yes give details
Partner delivery organisation name British Waterways
Contact nameAdrian Middleton, Business Development Manager
Address Peels Wharf, Lichfield St, Fazeley, Tamworth, Staffs B78 3QZ
Legal statusPublic Corporation
Partner Delivery organisation name Groundwork Trust Coventry & Warwickshire
Contact name Bob Keith
Address Old Hall Farm

Whitestitch Lane


Coventry CV7 7JE

Legal status Environmental Regeneration Charity

Partner Delivery organisation nameArbury Estate (Astley Castle)
Contact name Hugo Mallaby, Estate Manager
AddressWindmill Hill


Nuneaton CV10 7PZ

Legal statusPrivate Trust
Partner Delivery organisation nameWarwickshire County Council
Contact name Janet Fortune
AddressPT&ES, Shire Hall


CV34 4RA

Legal statusPublic Body
Partner Delivery organisation nameWomen’s Business Development Agency
Contact nameJane Hill, Head of Business Development Services
Address Enterprise Centre, Coventry University Technology Park, Puma Way, Coventry CV1 2TT
Legal statusLimited Company - not for profit
Partner Delivery organisation nameWarwickshire Rural Forum and Hub
Contact nameVikki Stephens, Coordinator; Henry Lucas, Chair Rural Hub
Address RASE, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh
Legal statusPublicly-funded organisation
Is this your first application to Advantage WM for support for this project? Yes
If No , when did you make your first application?
If this Outline Application is endorsed for development when do you estimate you will be able to make a Full Application?February 2007

    5. Project SUMMARY
    What is the aim of the Project? The Borough of North Warwickshire represents a diverse economy, where traditional rural enterprises and communities have co-existed alongside industrial sectors such as coal mining, quarrying and manufacturing. Recent years have seen a significant increase in distribution and logistics companies related to the M42 corridor and a steady growth in rural and heritage tourism. NWBC is committed to the development of all sectors of the local economy but with particular focus upon those areas where incomes remain generally low and deprivation is experienced e.g. town estates, former mining communities and rural settlements.

    The Reviving Enterprise North Warwickshire Project (RENeW) is an innovative enterprise project planned to provide partnership opportunity and financial support to the redevelopment of a cluster of town and rural brownfield sites in and around Mancetter and Hartshill. Imaginative regeneration of such sites will provide a much-needed stimulus to these areas of the local economy where pockets of deprivation exist, and through a new enterprise network will encourage and support new business and job creation.

    RENeW reflects the commitment of NWBC to maximise the potential of tourism to boost the local economy through new enterprise development in the area. The Project is in line with the West Midlands Visitor Strategy which states:

    “By 2010 the VE will be recognised as one of the region’s major economic drivers seen as adding to the regional economy supporting urban and rural renaissance and the sustainable delivery of regeneration. A successful visitor economy will multiply the effect of regeneration investment – attracting private sector investment and enhancing the appeal for residents and businesses”.

    What is the market failure this project aims to address?

      • In economic terms North Warwickshire is considered by DEFRA as one of five ‘lagging areas’ - defined as ‘rural areas of low economic productivity and income’ - in the whole of West Midlands.
      • Local people have not necessarily benefited from the job creation created by employment growth and tourism in North Warwickshire over the last 15 years – this issue is a priority action.
      • North Warwickshire has an excess of brownfield sites – many reflecting former days of relative industrial prosperity. Many of these are now disused and in poor repair – but have not been replaced with stock suitable for local enterprise development.
      • This lack of suitable modern flexible premises for SMEs is discouraging business start-ups and forcing entrepreneurs to look elsewhere to start or grow their business.
      • Whilst unemployment across the Borough remains below the county average, there are pockets of significant deprivation with higher than average unemployment levels and low skill/low pay prospects in North Warwickshire. Most wards in North Warwickshire have low levels of economically active people (16-74) with Atherstone wards averaging only 62.5%.
      • Five of the top 10 wards in Warwickshire with the highest percentage of households earning below £5,000 are in North Warwickshire - Atherstone Central at 7%; Atherstone North 6.6%; Polesworth East 6.2%; Atherstone South and Mancetter 6.2%; Baddesley and Grendon 5.8% (Source: CACI PayCheck Data 2004)
      • North Warwickshire has above average number of people aged 17-74 without any qualifications (34.2%) compared with England and Wales (29.1%) - particular areas of concern are in Atherstone Central 43.3%, Dordon 42.5%, Hurley and Wood End 40.6%.
    What is the cause of market failure?
      • There is a lack of resource investment aimed at building an enterprise culture amongst hard-to-reach and more deprived and dispersed communities in North Warwickshire
      • Low level of small workspace development and investment in former coal mining areas has continued the economic decline and low aspirations of these deprived communities.
      • Many potential small business premises in the Borough are derelict or in poor condition making them inappropriate to modern needs and unattractive to private sector investors.
      • Rural and heritage tourism has the potential to make a significant contribution to the local economy yet growth is being hindered by the short supply of appropriate facilities and premises.
      • Too many people commute outside of North Warwickshire for work – for example, the DTZ Pieda Rural Business Innovation Demand Study 2005 indicated that around 4800 people commute into Birmingham each day double the corresponding volume of people who commute in the opposite direction.
      • North Warwickshire does not lie within any of the AWM Regeneration Zones.
    What will the project do?

    The RENeW Project is an initiative broadly in line with the main objective of the AWM Rural Framework – ‘ to achieve sustainable development in the rural West Midlands by improving access to opportunity and the number and quality of jobs available within sustainable rural communities.’ The Project will:

      • Regenerate three brownfield sites into offices and workspace to accommodate small indigenous niche businesses leading to sustainable diversification.
      • Coordinate business start-up support in the Borough through a North Warks Enterprise Network
      • Create a North Warwickshire Canal Enterprise Corridor
      • Improve the enterprise culture amongst hard-to-reach and depressed communities North Warks
    Brownfield site 1 - Redevelopment of Hartshill Wharf as a heritage and tourism enterprise centre and hub for a North Warwickshire Canal Enterprise Corridor

    Hartshill Wharf is situated adjacent to the Coventry Canal in an area with mining and quarrying history, the latter still prevailing today. Hartshill Wharf is owned by British Waterways - a Grade 2 listed site with the complex of boatyard buildings adding an historic element to the canal environment. The wharf is soon to be decommissioned and alternative uses are sought for this site. Through the RENeW Project, and as part of the NWBC tourism strategy to exploit the canal network, it is planned to redevelop the site as a heritage and tourism enterprise centre with 600 sq m of offices and craft workshops for small businesses, visitor facilities, car park extension and new canal footbridge.

    The RENeW project fits well with the British Waterways objective of creating sustainable uses for buildings. Hartshill Wharf will become the hub for new enterprise along or around the North Warwickshire stretch of the Coventry Canal (Midlands Quarry Nuneaton to Polesworth) coordinating business support, training, workspace, tourist services and networking facilities. This will be managed by NWBC through the planned North Warwickshire Enterprise Network working as part of the West Midlands Regional Business Support Model. Service level agreements will be made with the West Midlands Enterprise Brokerage and with enterprise skills development training providers such as North Warwickshire College and Coventry University (ICE Academy)

    Canal restoration projects in the south of England (the Kennet & Avon), in Scotland (the Forth & Clyde / Union Canal) and in the North West (Huddersfield Narrow and Rochdale Canals) are all producing clear evidence that waterway schemes can deliver economic and social benefits for local people. Economic benefits are achieved through a combination of two inter-linked but separately distinguishable effects: new tourism and leisure activity; and waterside commercial development.

    The two are inter-linked since recreation and leisure activity enlivens the waterway, animating what would otherwise be a sterile scene and providing the backdrop for a wider range of commercial uses. Commercial development of redundant or disused canal-side buildings, for its part, ensures a more attractive and welcoming built environment than would otherwise be seen by visitors.

    Brownfield site 2 - Renovation of Astley Castle Farm and Stable Block into a creative enterprise and tourism heritage centre

    Located on the Arbury Estate, within the village of Astley, the Farm (unlisted) and the Stable Block (Grade 2 listed) are buildings built around1820 and incorporated or close to the site of the ancient monument, Astley Castle (the former home of Lady Jane Grey). Through the RENeW Project, and as part of the development plan for Astley Village with its historical and cultural (George Eliot) history, it is planned to restore these buildings and convert them into 800 sq m of creative and craft workshops as well as an interpretation centre. The location is ideal for such usage – there is a shortage of rurally-located workspace – and will provide added value to tourism, amenities and the local economy.

    The Centre will have a small rural enterprise hub providing information, signposting, training and hot desk facilities for local rural businesses wishing to access virtual business support. The opportunity to network on a part-time basis will help sustainability of these often isolated businesses.

    The Enterprise Hub, managed as part of the North Warwickshire Enterprise Network, will provide access to business services and enterprise training not normally available in more isolated parts of the Borough. This will be developed in partnership with the West Midlands Enterprise Brokerage as part of the Regional Business Support Model. .

    This site in particular is in line with the West Midlands Visitor Economy Strategy which states:

    “We must ensure the success of the Visitor Economy through sustained regeneration investment in attractions, services and infrastructure and creating and maintaining successful destinations”

    Brownfield site 3 – Establishment of small business units at Manor Road, Mancetter

    The Manor Road site which is in the ownership of NWBC is a linear brownfield site in need of development, occupying a strip of land adjacent to the railway and opposite to a large local authority housing estate representing one of the most deprived wards in the region. Through the RENeW Project, it is planned to construct up to 8 start-up units for micro businesses representing some 360 sq m of new build office and workspace, with the intention of encouraging local creative and craft enterprise and providing a small business support hub. Grow-on premises are available locally on a number of sites e.g. Manor Road Industrial Estate. The initiative is in line with the need for such small, flexible workspace as indicated in the Chesterton industrial and commercial building study commissioned by NWBC in 2001, and the Atherstone & Polesworth Market Town Healthcheck 2002-03.

    What is the demand for the project?

    The RENeW Project will focus upon developing new enterprise opportunities within the tourism and leisure cluster. This is an area of priority for NWBC (see Section 4) recognising the need to capitalise upon the potential of this cluster which represents the largest growth in the number of new jobs created across the West Midlands between 1995 and 2002 - some 22k and estimated to increase by a further 10k by 2010.

    All three of the intended sites are proximate to areas of deprivation where private sector investment in suitable sized premises for service businesses, light manufacture and rural crafts is very low (WIPS 2006). Employment and skills data related to wards such as Atherstone South and Mancetter show numbers of people in the ‘economically active age range’ are significantly lower than the national average. Within these wards are a number of Super Output Areas (SOAs) in the 20% of most deprived areas in the country. A community enterprise survey is underway to establish demand for business start-up premises and support in the area.

    NWBC commissioned a major study of industrial and commercial premises (Chesterton 2001) which concluded that there was a strong demand for small good quality premises and in particular managed workspace and offices for SMEs. The Report highlighted a concern that companies were leaving the Borough due to a lack of suitable premises, and that the potential to support the rural economy through sensitive planning of workspace and offices development was not being recognised.

    Since that Report, the rise in micro-businesses and the general demand for more flexible and affordable workspace (Warwickshire Investment Partnership - WCC data) has increased this shortage, especially in market towns and rural areas:

    “Generally there is a demand for smaller premises with flexible leases, 29% of WIPS enquiries in 2005/06 were from new start-ups. However apart from WCC owned business units there is very little in the commercial market offering small units with short leases at an affordable price” (Industrial Land Profile – Economic Development & market Perspective 2006)

    The need for managed workspace and starter units was confirmed in the Atherstone/Polesworth Healthcheck carried out as part of the AWM Market Town Initiative 2002-06, leading to a commitment from the NWBC to encourage development of such premises Local Plan and Framework for Sustainable Action 2006-11.

    Who will be the beneficiaries of the project?

    Rural and dispersed communities will be direct beneficiaries of this project with the three development sites creating new business and job opportunities, retaining local employment, attracting additional visitor spend through enterprise and attracting further inward investment.

    RENeW will target people in hard-to-reach communities who do not see nor realise their potential as self-employed or as entrepreneurs – yet who may have skills and latent talents that lend themselves to a small business environment. The project will be innovative – reaching out to communities, providing easy access to facilities and developing an enterprise culture through a strong support network and enterprise training schemes with partners e.g. ICE Academy. The project is in line with the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative (LEGI) aiming to realise latent human capital amongst hard to reach and under-represented communities.

    Business premises developed will encourage companies to remain in North Warwickshire therefore protecting jobs. Overall, the North Warwickshire economy will be boosted by increased activity in the crafts and tourism sector, and specifically add value to the sustainable villages and canal enterprise strategies.

    When will it be delivered?

    This project is planned to cover a five-year development period from planned project inception in April 2007, with completion of outputs planned March 2012. AWM capital and revenue funding provided through the ‘porous RZ fund’ ; will cover the initial capital development phase (estimated at 12 months from contract approval).

    Why is the chosen option the best option?

    There is no evidence that the private sector is engaged in enterprise support or premises development for new and young businesses in North Warwickshire (WIPS 2006). The dispersed nature of communities in the Borough means that critical mass is a real issue – with severe limitations in terms of access to support, suitable premises, and a network of like-minded entrepreneurial people. NWBC has a responsibility and commitment to widen opportunity – and to give people the chance to make a better life through starting and sustaining a small business. With regional support and as part of the Regional Business Support Model, this project can transform the local enterprise environment and become a catalyst for a network of new enterprises across North Warwickshire, especially in areas that demonstrate low job prospects, lack of opportunity and a poor environment for business startup and growth.

    Sustainability of outcomes / long term benefits

    The RENeW project will serve as a catalyst for small business development in the Borough, providing new workspace for small enterprises and raising aspirations and opportunity for those considering starting a new business. The Project will initiate a new North Warwickshire Enterprise Network (NWEN) designed to provide business support and B2B contact between new and established companies often located in dispersed communities. This will be done in close cooperation with the West Midlands Enterprise Brokerage. Close linkages in this regard will also be necessary with the Warwickshire Rural Hub. NWBC will enter into longer term operational partnerships with other public bodies e.g. British Waterways and the private sector e.g. Arbury Estates to achieve sustainability of outcomes.

    As a business regeneration project, a level of sustainability will be achieved through the recycling of rental revenue into local business support during the project lifecycle. Service level agreements with landlords (British Waterways and Arbury Estates) have been agreed in principle to enable continuation of the business support services provided through the NW enterprise network after the funding period has ceased.

    Why AWM funding?

    The shortage of suitable small and flexible modern business units amongst town and rural communities in North Warwickshire is critical and is restricting the growth of local entrepreneurism, especially in areas of high deprivation. Private sector investment in rural workshops and small-scale light industrial units has been low especially in areas where there is greatest need. Market forces are not working and public sector intervention is needed. North Warwickshire lies outside of the CNRZ and the West Midlands Rural Regeneration Zone – no alternative funding streams are available to support the project objectives.

    6. Strategic FIT
    NATIONAL The RENeW Project is in line with Government strategy for rural areas and brownfield sites:
          • ‘Rural Strategy 2004’ (based on Haskins Reports 2000 / 2004 ‘Our Countryside, Our Future’) which includes within its targets of economic and social regeneration the support of enterprise across rural England whether in terms of private commercial business or social enterprise.
      • ‘Towards a National Brownfields Strategy’ (English Partnerships 2003) – the RENeW Project will contribute to proposed targets that ‘20% of the national stock in 2000 of previously developed land (PDL) i.e. brownfield sites, should be reclaimed by 2010.

    West Midlands Economic Strategy (AWM)

    Pillar 1 – Developing a diverse and dynamic business base (30%)

    Policy 4.2 – Improving enterprise performance.

    In line with this Policy, RENeW aims to improve enterprise performance through encouragement and development of enterprise in disadvantaged communities within North Warwickshire. It is the intention to raise the number of individuals entering self-employment in North Warwickshire in line with WM Enterprise Board’s objective of supporting individuals in starting, developing and sustaining successful enterprises.

    Pillar 3 Creating conditions for Growth (30%)

    Policy 6.4 – Delivering good quality sites and buildings

    A major objective of this Project is to ensure the provision of good quality office premises and workspace in the right location and of the right type to suit the needs of local industries. This Policy calls for ‘locally significant employment sites established through local authority development plans to meet the needs of the regional economy’. In line with Action 28/6.4 and Regional Spatial Strategy (formerly Regional Planning Guidance), the project will turn derelict and disused brownfield sites into well-designed premises which are ‘fit for purpose’ and which will become a catalyst for further regeneration in North Warwickshire. Specifically in relation to the Hartshill Wharf proposal, this fits with Action 32 Section 6.4 to develop potential of the WM canal network for rural development, urban regeneration and tourism

    Pillar 4 Regenerating Communities (40%)

    Policy 7.2 Linking Opportunity to Need

    The RENeW Project will tackle low aspiration amongst deprived communities in wards proximate to the brownfield sites selected for redevelopment, It is the intention that the project will use the Warwickshire Rural Hub to develop a network of local entrepreneurial communities and create an enterprise culture amongst those who would not normally be exposed to opportunities and benefits of self-employment. In line with Policy 7.2, the Project will aim to improve the level of business formation and survival rates at local levels.

    West Midland Visitor Strategy

    Section 2 Desirable destinations:

    2.1 Great places to live, work and visit

    2.3 Working in partnership

    Section 4 Strong brand portfolio

    4.1 Niche markets based on special 9intersts such as literary heritage

    4.1 Hire boat traffic and boat owners passing through on the river and canal network

    4.3 Warwickshire emphasis– assists rural regeneration & northern parts of the county

    4.6 Promoting themes:

    Literary heritage of Shakespeare, George Eliot, Rupert Brooke

    Inland waterways –Warwickshire Ring and canal network visitor needs

    Section 5. Impressive infrastructure

    5.5 Business Support – private sector engagement

    West Midlands Strategic Approach to Brownfield Sites Development

    We understand that a regional and sub-regional strategic approach will be developed for the West Midlands.

    West Midlands Rural Renaissance– AWM Rural Framework Feb 2005

    The RENeW Project fits within the Rural Renaissance Framework which applies the West Midlands Economic Strategy to rural areas and is aimed at achieving sustainable development in the rural West Midlands. This will be achieved by improving access to opportunity, increasing the number and quality of jobs available within sustainable rural communities and fostering and supporting rural business growth.

    Particular areas of the WM Rural Framework are relevant to this Application:

      • Developing a modern rural infrastructure and environmental conditions – ensuring appropriate development of suitable redundant sites and buildings that become available particularly those developed in the last 50 years
      • Balancing the lack of private sector investment in the market for workspace provision
      • Investment by the RDA in the acquisition of sites and premises in rural areas to create opportunities for diversification and development of mixed use schemes including employment use
      • Encouraging the development of multi-use centres in sustaining rural communities
    West Midlands Market Towns Initiative (MTI) - Action 4a ‘Targeting and meeting local need’ – to ensure provision of serviced and appropriately located workspace for new enterprises, linked to training and business development including a programme of environmental enhancements across key industrial estates.

    Screen Image and Sound Cluster Plan – the project will examine the potential of this cluster as a growth area for new enterprise in North Warwickshire with its focus on the creation of innovative digital content for education and entertainment. Interest has already been shown from entrepreneurs in this sector.

    Tourism West Midlands – 3-Year Action Plan 2005-08 (AWM Tourism and Leisure COG)


    The project responds to a number of priorities listed in the CSWP Engine of Growth Strategy (2004):

      • To create the right conditions for growth by provision of a ready supply of sites and premises, and enhancing the environment of deprived and run-down areas.
      • Regenerating communities by spreading market confidence northwards within the sub-region and tackling local pockets of need.
    The project supports the specific references included in the Engine for Growth Strategy:

    2.5 provide a ready supply of employment sites and premises

    2.6 encourage brownfield development in regeneration zones and other areas of need

    2.7 provision of starter units for micro-businesses; convert and redevelopment of redundant buildings

    2.8 provide and protect employment sites and premises in rural areas

    2.1.4 environmental enhancement to attract private investment to the more run-down and deprived areas

    3.1.2 support will be given to the rural business growth cluster

    3.2 attract inward investment and diversify the economy

    3.4.2 leisure tourism has an important role to play in rural regeneration

    3.4.3 developing the cultural and tourism potential of the wider sub region including historic, literary and inland waterways

    3.5 support retraining and enterprise initiatives in regeneration zones

    3.5.2 local provision of support for new enterprises and micro-businesses

    3.5.3 the importance of the rural economy in the sub-region is recognised and help will be given to the rural business growth sector to innovate and compete successfully

    3.6.2 link opportunity with need by removing barriers to employment and encouraging firms to locate in and recruit from areas and communities of need

    4.1 promote regeneration activities for disadvantaged communities

    4.1.3 serious problems of isolated pockets or rural deprivation in the rural areas will be addressed

    4.7 rural regeneration – to improve and diversify the economy and access to services in the rural areas.

    Vision for Growth 2020 (CSWP)

      • To promote a diversified rural economy.
      • To promote entrepreneurship, new business development and business growth
      • To create sustainable communities by building bridges to success for those in areas currently suffering deprivation, especially in the north of the region.
    CSW Rural Forum Rural Action Plan - Priority Action 1.4
      • Ensure an adequate supply of land and property to promote business growth and employment
    Warwickshire County Strategic Framework (as listed in Engine for Growth)

    4.2.4 To promote access to opportunity and prosperity for disadvantaged groups and locations.

    4.2.5 In North Warwickshire, local people are not fully benefiting from inward investment and there is a legacy of relative social, economic and environmental deprivation in those areas.

    SRB Vital Villages Programme – keeping villages alive through development of local enterprise hubs


    North Warwickshire Economy Action Plan 2006-11

      • Tourism throughout the borough will be developed and promoted.
      • There is a need to support the local economy through the provision of small office / workspace.
      • The Plan will address high levels of employment in routine / semi-routine occupations
      • NWBC will work with AWM, English Partnerships and landowners and other partners in bringing forward brownfield sites for appropriate re-use in line with the Development Plan (Action 12)
    North Warwickshire Economic Development Service Plan 2006-07 Action 3j – to continue to press for external funding from AWM and English partnerships for assistance in bringing forward the Council’s brownfield land portfolio for development

    North Warwickshire Sustainable Community Plan – key priorities include: ensuring a diverse range of employment in the area; support to rural business and enterprise; develop and support local tourism; re-use brownfield sites where appropriate.

    North Warwickshire Framework for Sustainable Rural - concluded that ‘the Borough needed to adapt to change and support new enterprises thereby giving local people the chance to shape their own future’.

    7. LinkS and dependencies

Is your project linked to or dependent upon, other projects or events outside your control?
Linked ProjectsLead Organisation
People into Employment Project North Warks & NuneatonNuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council
Quarryman’s Walk Project British Waterways / Groundwork C&W
North Arden Heritage Trail Project Heritage Lottery Fund
Midlands Quarry Development, Camp HillNuneaton & Bedworth BC; WCC
Innovation & Creative Enterprise Academy (ICE)Coventry University Enterprises
External DependenciesDependency owner
Conditions of renovation of Grade 2 listed buildings at Astley Stable Block and Hartshill WharfEnglish Heritage
Commitment to Canal Enterprise Corridor concept and change of use for disused buildings at Hartshill WharfBritish Waterways / English Heritage
Highways access related to sites - Manor Road Mancetter, Hartshill Wharf; Astley FarmWarwickshire County Council Highways Dept

    8. Project risks
    Risks to the achievement of project outcomes
Astley Farm and Stable Block Lack of private sector partner commitment - renovated buildings taken back by landlord prior to project end.NWBC have no control over SME development and project outcomes, and development not sustained
Partnership agreement being developed between NWBC and Arbury Estate to guarantee sustainable usage for SME creative and craft workshops beyond project period.
Astley Farm and Stable Block

Local resistance to opening up Farm and Stable Block for business and public access.

Craft businesses and tourists made to feel unwelcome leading to low uptake of workspace and unviability of development.

Planning permission may be delayed or restricted.

NWBC discussions with Parish Council and public meetings to demonstrate the high quality of development and the benefits to local economy of village restoration as heritage/cultural centre.

New jobs and business opportunities created

Project could bring about traffic calming which will be welcomed locally.

Astley Farm will provide new community parking for village, and visitors

All sites

Demand may be low for small workspace and office units in the area

Workspaces remain empty and have adverse effect upon local aspiration and the environment
Survey of local needs carried out – promotional campaign to encourage entrepreneurism amongst communities.

Business start up support network established; business mentor scheme; pre-start options

Hartshill Wharf

Buildings may not be easily converted without damaging intrinsic heritage characteristics of the Wharf

Limited development of craft and tourism workspace
British Waterways committed to reuse of buildings; architects commissioned to prepare plans which are sensitive to heritage whilst providing modern usable workspace. Maintenance Yard provides new workspace potential
All sites

Insufficient time to seek planning permissions and complete capital build before March 2008

Funding shortfall due to AWM March 2008 funding deadline – projects would be uncompleted
One of the sites is owned by NWBC. Planning response positive to date. None of the sites represent major build programmes.

    9. Project ISSUES
    Issues which affect the achievement of project outcomes
Astley Farm /Stable Block Access into the site and car parking permission will require planning and land access approvalLack of access will present a real problem to entrepreneurs and to visitors to the workshops.Medium Owner of farm and stables also owns surrounding land and property that provides sufficient opportunity for access and parking use.
Hartshill Wharf

Access into the Wharf is problematic – an increase of business users and visitors will be an issue

Planning might be refused on Highways recommendation; site remains under-utilised; area receives little or no economic benefit from canal tourism. HighTraffic lights already in operation across canal road bridge; new access route possible; potential of additional footbridge from car park across to wharf. Potential to promote higher level of custom from canal.
Manor Road Mancetter

Linear site earmarked is narrow and may limit sensible development of small business units.

Site unable to be used for workspace development – alternative uses need to be found e.g. garages, car park spacesHighArchitects’ concept plans clarify potential of site for workspace development. Highways issues have been addressed in concept plans.
All sites

Costs of highways adaptation or rerouting may prove high, especially if land purchase or roadwork involved

Owners and occupiers will want to be assured that access arrangements are safe with any necessary improvements carried out before occupation.HighFollowing a County Highways assessment, new access routes are being surveyed at each site which may mitigate these concerns.

Highways improvements included in costings following discussions with WCC.

    10. The Project and your Organisation
    This section tells us about your ability to deliver projects successfully
8.1 Have you or your delivery partners delivered similar projects for the Agency or applied for an Agency Grant before? Yes
If Yes please list most relevant 2-3 projects below:-
    • West Midlands Market Town Initiative Atherstone & Polesworth
    • Coleshill Market Town Development Project (AWM general funding for Coleshill)
8.2 Have you and/or your delivery partners delivered similar projects for other agencies before? YES
If Yes please list most relevant 2-3 projects below (state project name, client organisation, reference contact name and details):-
    • North Arden Heritage Trail (£500k including feasibility) – Heritage Lottery Fund
    • RECHAR – various projects e.g. Pooley Colliery (WCC lead); Tithe Barn, Pooley
    • SRB5 Vital Villages partner 6 year project (Warwickshire & Worcestershire County Councils)
    • People into Employment ESF - Upskilling and job access (Nuneaton & Bedworth BC)
    • EU Objective 2 – Improvements to Atherstone
8.3 Tell us about how you will manage the project and your organisation.
8.3.1 Will you employ a dedicated project manager? YES
8.3.2 Do you have procedures for managing projects and finance?YES
8.3.2 Name the Senior Manager in your organisation who will be accountable for the successful delivery of this projectHilary Goodreid, Economic Development Manager, North Warwickshire Borough Council
8.4 How many people do you employ? Count Full Time Equivalents (FTE’s) 450
8.5 How many FTE’s work in the department delivering this project? 35
8.6 How many of your people will work on this project? Express in FTE’s 2
8.7 Will you or your partners have to recruit to deliver this project? yes
8.8 If Yes how will recruitment be handled? Standard Local authority procedures
8.9 Will you have to procure goods services or works to deliver this project Yes
8.9.1 If Yes Do you have a procurement policy?
If the answer to 8.9.1 is No, how will the procurement be handled? Yes
8.10 Will your project involve building work and or the acquisition of land/buildings?Yes
8.11 Will you need planning permission to deliver this project?Yes
8.12 If you need planning permission when did you or when do you plan to apply? Oct-Dec06
8.13 What is your gross annual turnover or annual funding?£36 million
8.14 State the annual value of grants received included in 8.13 funding £15 million
8.15 Are you dependent on other grant applications to support this project? No
8.16 If Yes from whom, for how much, have other grants been secured?
8.17 When was your organisation established? 1974
Do you and your partners in this project have policies on:-
8.18 Equal Opportunities? Yes8.19 Health & Safety?Yes
8.20 Disability Discrimination?Yes8.21 Sustainability?Yes
8.22 Do you and your partners have employee and public liability insurance Yes
8.23 Will the project’s facilities support access to the target beneficiaries? Yes
8.24 Who will benefit directly from this project?
Individuals YesThe community Yes Public Bodies Yes Private businesses Yes
8.25 Will delivery of your project potentially compete with services provided by other businesses or other publicly funded bodies? No

    11. Project metrics
Current Year y/e 31.3.07
Current Year+1

y/e 31.3.08

Current Year+2

y/e 31.3.09

Current Year+3

y/e 31.3.10

Future Years
Other Public
10000 10000 20000
Applicant’s funds
10000 10000 20000
9.2 PROJECT OUTPUTS – Counted over a 5- Year Project Period for RENeW
Descriptions Tasking the RDA’s Framework
Project Total
Job Creation – number of jobs created
Job Creation – number of jobs safeguarded
Employment Support - people assisted to get a job
Business Creation - businesses created & demonstrating growth
Business Support - businesses supported to improve their performance
Business Support - businesses engaged in new collaborations with the knowledge base
Regeneration - public/private infrastructure investment levered
Regeneration – brownfield land reclaimed/redeveloped
Skills - People assisted in skills development
Skills - New graduates employed in private sector
Skills - Number of people increasing management and leadership skills
Descriptions ERDF Outputs
Descriptions Strategic Value Add Items
Agree FundingQ2 2007Q3 2007 Salaries
Start DeliveryQ3 2007Q4 2007 Management and Admin
Complete DeliveryQ2 2012Q3 2012 Marketing
Buildings & Equipment
Professional Fees
Total Project CostsCapital

Meeting dates for this committee

08/03/201018:30The Chamber, Council House, Atherstone
25/01/201018:30The Chamber, Council House, Atherstone
21/12/200918:30The Chamber, Council House, Atherstone
28/09/200918:30The Chamber, Council House, Atherstone
08/06/200918:30The Chamber, The Council House, Athestone
23/03/200918:30Council Offices, Atherstone
26/01/200918:30Council Offices, Atherstone
27/10/200818:30Council Offices, Atherstone