A new Regeneration Strategy aimed at bringing jobs and housing to Nottingham’s local neighbourhoods has been launched by the City Council.
The Strategy provides a pathway to improving the areas of the city which the majority of Nottingham residents call home.
Sustainable job creation, support for small businesses, building homes and great community spaces are at the heart of the plan, and maintaining investment for these areas even in the face of deep cuts to local authority funding is key.
It is hoped this approach will better support more traditionally disadvantaged citizens such as young people with few qualifications, over-50s who are out of work and lone parents.
Councillor Graham Chapman, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, said: “It is vital that we continue to prioritise the wellbeing of the communities we serve, even in the face of drastic budget cuts from central government. We believe in creating better employment, housing and public spaces for Nottingham’s neighbourhoods and allowing citizens to benefit from a higher quality of life through supporting small business, regenerating homes, parks and shopping areas and tackling social exclusion. Everyone who lives in Nottingham should benefit from its economic successes. “
The Neighbourhood Regeneration Strategy 2016 is a roadmap to maximise the impact of limited funding in challenging times. Like other UK cities, Nottingham has productivity gaps but believes that the prospects of local people can be improved through education, training and improving housing and community spaces.
Investment into education also remains a priority for Nottingham City Council. Nottingham City Council has invested £33.2 million in its primary school expansion programme since 2009, creating more than 4,000 additional pupil places.
Some of the activity contained within the strategy concerns local businesses. A key source of wealth and job creation, they also provide valuable goods and services for people. The Neighbourhood Regeneration Strategy will support this area through measures including:
- Putting in place action plans and funding for specific local areas
- Providing business support, an enhanced skills offer and place marketing via the new Place Marketing Organisation to key sectors – life science, clean technology and creative & digital
- Investing in Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with skilled labour and an enhanced infrastructure
- Building on past successes such as Southglade Food Park and East Point Retail Park with new development phases
- Providing £500,000 per area to Clifton and Bulwell to improve retail facilities and regenerate trade
Other activities will focus on supporting local people to access training and employment that complements the needs of Nottingham-based businesses:
- The successful Nottingham Jobs Hub that supports jobseekers in the city will help 2,750 residents into employment, 1,750 into training, 4,000 into work experience, 1,000 into Apprenticeships and sign up 150 new employers to the Nottingham Jobs Pledge
- Step Into Work, a programme that works with unemployed 18-24 year olds, will help 1,200 into sustainable work
- Community Jobs Plans will co-ordinate training activity locally
And when it comes to housing, the Neighbourhood Regeneration Strategy addresses quality and affordability for homes and energy costs:
- Over the next five years, 2,500 homes affordable for Nottingham people to buy or rent will be created in partnership with Nottingham City Homes – with 100 bungalows build in neighbourhoods to allow local people to stay in their communities
- Over £4m in grants has been secured by the council to create new homes in schemes such as Trent Basin where 350 high quality, low energy home are in the process of delivery
- Where land is not council-owned, planning powers will be used to ensure appropriate development
- A city-wide scheme of licencing for the private rental sector will aim to create greater stability for tenants
- Nottingham Energy Partnership has installed cavity wall and loft insulation in thousands of homes in the owned and private rented sector
- Robin Hood Energy, the first supply company wholly owned by a local authority, will continue to tackle fuel poverty by selling energy at the lowest possible price to Nottingham residents on a not-for-profit basis and has just launched a SMART-metered, pay-as-you-go tariff to reduce costs for citizens who most need it
- The Greener HousiNG roll out has continued beyond Clifton with £2.7m in the Green Deal Communities Fund being used alongside further ECO funding
Improving public spaces and community access to them via enhanced transport are also key aims:
- Over £14 million in secured funding will be invested in more than 60 local parks and open spaces, outdoor gyms and trim trails – Nottingham is now fourth in the country for the number of Green Flags awarded to its outdoor spaces
- Maintaining Nottingham’s 2015 title as ‘Britain’s Cleanest City’ via ward-based action plans
- Addressing biodiversity in neighbourhood green spaces and reviewing use of allotments to make sure they are all used to their fullest potential
- Restructuring library provision to make more of their potential as social, learning and cultural hubs
Nottingham City Council’s approach is based around early intervention, aimed at tackling the factors that cause social exclusion, rather reactively repairing the damage it causes.
The strategy will work through Area Committees, empowering neighbourhoods to decide what works best for them on a local level.
By creating the right conditions for economic opportunity, investing wisely in spaces where people want to live and work and providing access to the services that people really need, it is hoped that a virtuous cycle of family and neighbourhood vitality will enhance the lives and prospects of the people of Nottingham.