Special council company could help create jobs and encourage development

A DISTRICT council is to look at establishing a local authority controlled company that would work with independent partners to encourage economic development and create jobs.

The aim of the scheme proposed by Hambleton District Council would be to work with a private sector group to unlock regeneration by delivering developments that have previously been passed over.

It would work through the council, possibly with other authorities, offering land or assets, while the private sector investment partner, possibly a building or development contractor, provided skills, experience and funds to develop projects.

The developments could include residential, retail, community, office and or industrial and commercial projects.

Local authorities have the power to trade and generate profit through their own companies through what is called a ‘local asset backed vehicle’.

To help set up the company the authority would need specialist legal, financial and taxation advice. Members of the Cabinet committee agreed £25,000 should be used to explore setting up the company from the authority’s one-off fund.

Deputy council leader Cllr Peter Wilkinson said it was a groundbreaking scheme.

“This could be a very exciting venture for the council. We would be looking at it as a way to deliver economic regeneration for Hambleton, but it will also give some cash return for the authority and its private sector partner, which we can then re-invest in the district," he said.

“It will also give us the ability to deliver proposals contained in such things as our ‘masterplan’ for Northallerton and in our Local Development Framework, many of which are often not delivered by the private sector. And by working in partnership we can save considerable amounts of time and money for all parties."

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