Government agency reviews brownfield land practices

English Partnerships, the Government’s regeneration and development agency, has commissioned a team from Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Nottingham and Parkman Consultants to review current practices and policies regarding the re-use of brownfield land in Europe.

Following the conclusion of English Partnerships’ (EP) Review on 24 July 2002, the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, confirmed that English Partnerships would be responsible for producing and maintaining a national brownfield strategy. English Partnerships is undertaking the study on behalf of the Urban Policy International Division at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. It will examine the policies and legislation in all European countries and how they work in practice.

Peter Hill, who is directing the study on behalf of English Partnerships, explained: “One of the aims of the study is to examine issues relating to State Aid. Recent reports commissioned by both the European Commission and the Local Government Association, suggest that State Aid rules can act as a constraint in the UK. This study will help us to assess whether or not this is the case in other European countries and to relate lessons learnt to practice in the UK. We will also be looking at how other Member States provide subsidies or fiscal incentives within the existing State Aid rules.”

The study team would welcome hearing the views of property developers, surveyors, engineers and other professionals practising in the UK and across Europe. Anyone interested in participating in the study should contact either Professor Paul Syms at Sheffield Hallam University at [email protected] or Ceri Sansom at Parkman at [email protected] or Peter Hill at English Partnerships [email protected] before September.

Following the recent Review, English Partnerships’ focus is on accommodating household growth, maintaining a national brownfield strategy for the re-use of brownfield land, managing its land portfolio to deliver sustainable regeneration and the practical demonstration and dissemination of best practice in regeneration and development.

EP continues to work with its public and private sector partners on major initiatives such as the National Coalfields Programme, Urban Regeneration Companies and Millennium Communities, as well as internet-based property resources such as and the National Land Use Database (NLUD).

As part of its coalfield redevelopment programme, English Partnerships has announced an £18.8 million investment designed to transform the former Betteshanger Colliery site near Deal in Kent, creating business units, a country park, education and leisure facilities, and a new link in the Sustrans national cycle network.

South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) owns the former colliery site and is carrying out the comprehensive regeneration programme, which has been developed in close consultation with the local community and English Partnerships.

The pit-head site will be developed with 22,000 m² of new employment accommodation units. The spoil tip area is to be reclaimed and developed as a country park.

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