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Q. How many URCs are there?
There are currently 12 URCs across the United Kingdom, 7 in England, 3 in Scotland, 1 in Wales and Ilex, which is the only one in Northern Ireland.
For more information on URCs please
Q. What criteria are used for choosing areas for regeneration?
The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has developed outline criteria for the selection of URCs (URCs: Development of Guidance and Criteria, (DTLR) March 2001). Some of the key elements of this criteria state that URCs should:
Contribute to regional and local priorities
Combine the development opportunities with clear social and economic needs of the area
Contain a clear explanation of the justification for this form of delivery over others and how it will add value/address deficiencies in other regeneration activities
Show a clear commitment of partners, particularly the RDA and Local Authority
Have support from across a broad spectrum of interests and demonstrate how local involvement is to be secured and maintained
Show how the URC will operate in relation to other partnerships and initiatives with regeneration/development objectives
Have the resources/commitment and quality of individuals to develop and deliver its strategy
Have delivery arrangements and systems in place
Q. What is an Urban Regeneration Company (URC)?
Urban Regeneration Companies (URCs) are responsible for leading and co-ordinating the re-development of, and new investment in, declining urban areas. They are independent organisations uniting national, regional and local public and private stakeholders in key towns and cities through a company or partnership structure. Their principle focus is to engage the private sector in an agreed physical and economic regeneration strategy, developing a comprehensive approach to tackling problems, and identifying opportunities in their areas. For more information
Q. What powers do URCs have?
A URC does not have any additional resources or powers over and above those that its partners are willing to commit.
A URC can champion, influence, guide and stimulate investment into an area. Its public sector partners can, however, use its powers of compulsory purchase orders to facilitate regeneration. The public URC can guide development within its area by a strategic regeneration framework or masterplan. This can be adopted by the local planning authority to guide development and even take the form of supplementary planning guidance.
Q. What sort of projects are URCs involved in?
Typically, a URC will first establish its aspirations for development through a strategic regeneration framework or masterplan. This will then guide development activity in its area. It may then be necessary for URCs to make a series of strategic acquisitions through their public sector partners in order to facilitate the delivery of their framework and encourage private sector investment.
URCs will also get involved in influencing local agencies to address skills shortages that could help to boost the local economy. They may also seek to improve the public realm in its area and standards of urban design, perhaps through an urban design code. Working together, URCs also seek to influence national government policy with regard to regeneration and inner city investment, sharing best practice that is being delivered in their areas.
Q. Who funds URCs?
URCs are responsible for co-ordinating plans and attracting new investment through the purposeful and imaginative promotion of their areas. They require prioritisation of public sector funding over a sustained period (10-15 years), in order to attract private investment at the levels required to bring about sustainable renewal.
In most cases, URCs’ operating costs are funded by the three key public sector organisations involved in them, namely the relevant Regional Development Authority (RDA), the Local Authority and Partnerships. Ilex is currently funded by The Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMDFM).
Q. Why are URCs set up?
In November 2000, the Government’s Urban White Paper proposed a programme of 12 new URCs over the next two to three years. The Urban White Paper’s endorsement of URCs followed the success of three initial pilots in Sheffield, East Manchester and Liverpool which were set up following a recommendation from Lord Rogers’ Urban Task Force in June 1999.
Ilex became a URC in July 2003.
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