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Spending cuts kill off Hull regeneration company

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Hull Forward will relinquish its regeneration activities before the end of the year, following government spending cuts

The arms-length urban regeneration company announced yesterday that due to withdrawal of HCA and Yorkshire Forward funding it will cease operation on 30 September.

Ian McIntosh, chairman of Hull Forward, said: ‘It is clearly disappointing news but we remain proud of the significant achievements made by our dedicated, professional and passionate team in providing a vital interface between the public and private sectors to drive Hull’s ambitious regeneration programme.’

Hull Forward’s partner organizations – Yorkshire Forward, the HCA and Hull City Council (HCC) - will take over its regeneration projects including theSurface Architects-masterplanned fruit market scheme.

A spokesperson for Yorkshire Forward said: ‘We (the partners) are currently in the middle of embedding comments on the Fruit markets Development Brief following public consultation, which will then enable the document to become adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document.’ 

‘We would welcome the opportunity to work with any developer that is committed to bringing schemes forward in alignment with the Development Brief.’

Construction is continuing on McDowell + Benedetti’s new footbridge to the east bank of the river Hull, where a Chetwoods-designed residential scheme stalled two years ago.

Simon Baker of Chetwoods Architects said: ‘It’s not unexpected because the whole profession is waiting to see where the cuts are made visible in the market.’

He predicted the demise of the company could simplify public private partnerships, and ‘give more authority to the local authority’.

Baker competed for the Hull fruit market scheme. He said: ‘I don’t think schemes like the fruit market will go away.’

Michael Houghton, chief executive of Hull’s design-watchdog ARC (headquarters pictured above), said a potential public realm commission would be effected.

He suggested Hull Forward’s 35 staff could join Hull City Council.

Statement: Ian McIntosh, chairman of Hull Forward

It is clearly disappointing news but we remain proud of the significant achievements made by our dedicated, professional and passionate team in providing a vital interface between the public and private sectors to drive Hull’s ambitious regeneration programme.

Key physical regeneration projects such as St Stephen’s, Humber Quays and the current construction of the River Hull footbridge would not have happened without the work of Hull Forward’s team.

Despite Hull being one of the most severely affected cities in the UK during the current recession, we have also created a strong platform on which a successful, sustainable economy for Hull can be built. In the last financial year alone we have helped to create or safeguarded nearly 1,000 jobs and have been involved in securing £2.6m of grants that will put a further 400 new jobs in the pipeline for the next two years.

We have driven the development of our economic growth sectors such as healthcare, renewable energy and port related manufacturing & logistics, allowing Hull to compete more effectively for investment in the global marketplace; created the UK’s first operational World Trade Centre which has supported nearly 1,200 businesses and developed further the nationally acclaimed Bondholder scheme.

We hope that some projects may be able to continue through other means and that the momentum of so many positive initiatives is maintained. We understand that public sector partners are discussing which programmes and projects can be taken forward in the current economic climate.

 

 

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