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NFB: Will fresh funding deliver for costal communities?

The Government has announced that the fifth round of the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) in England is open for expressions of interest.

The fund, which has seen 295 projects benefit from a total of £174 million in grants since 2012, will make £40 million available between April 2019 and March 2021.

Only projects worth more than £50,000 can apply and guidance states that the funding “will ultimately lead to regeneration and economic growth whilst directly or indirectly safeguarding and creating sustainable jobs.”

Two separate funding rounds are available: a fast track round and a main funding round. More information is available here.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) welcomes the approach taken by the Government in better assisting coastal communities. However, the NFB would encourage a review into whether there are any specific barriers stifling project deliverability, expressly if they relate to land use.

In 2016, CCF predicted that the fund would remediate 135 hectares of brownfield land, but the final report showed that only 21 hectares were remediated. Considering the wide range of potential applicants, from local authorities and community land trusts to private business and charities, the Government should thoroughly investigate why housing and development related opportunities did not come to fruition.

In the case of brownfield land remediation, NFB members typically experience a lack of planning consistency when putting these sites through the planning process. Consequently, they face increased costs before any work begins which, in many cases, causes projects to either stall or become unviable.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “The CCF has benefited coastal communities by helping fund sustainable innovation. However, it has also highlighted areas for investigation. We would like to help the Government understand what prevented them from meeting original forecasts so that this element of the process can be reformed. To tackle the housing crisis effectively, we must learn from missed opportunities and improve planning processes so that the fund fulfils it’s true potential, and more homes can be built to revive coastal areas.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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