In 2019, HJA worked with Torbay local authority to prepare a business case for Future High Streets Funding for regeneration projects in the town centre.
Starting with an initial long-list of 14 schemes, we coordinated with the client to identify a shortlist of the eight most suitable and deliverable schemes, including public realm investment, building renovation, and residential development. We helped to refine the bid in response to the project initiation meeting with MHCLG (now DLUHC) and further guidance provided through a set of criteria against which the objectives of each scheme could be assessed.
We worked with the client to describe the process of shortlisting, and the development of a series of options, including do-nothing, a smaller intervention of fewer schemes, the preferred intervention, and larger intervention comprising more schemes. A SWOT analysis for each shortlisted option was undertaken, summarising the strategic fit, achievability, affordability and potential value for money to help determine the preferred option.
Our team developed detailed cost estimates for the schemes, and estimates of land value uplift for each of the schemes, including developing a methodology for calculating the land value uplift generated by investments into public realm projects. The benefits appraisal involved carrying out a benefit to cost ratio calculation in line with MHCLG guidance, a risk appraisal which detailed the economic risks and their mitigation, and a sensitivity analysis which considered the effects of changing costs and benefits of each scheme.
We undertook financial cost modelling of the schemes to prepare a Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) cost estimate for submission to MHCLG, including the application of inflation and optimism bias, following HM Treasury guidance for both. We also set out the financial risks, along with sources of funding and a financial appraisal.
Developing the strategic case involved setting out the reasons for delivering the scheme and outlined challenges faced by the Torbay area. Our approach to resolving these challenges was summarised in a logic model which set out three strands of intervention, economy, place and people. Ultimately, the logic model provided justification of the need for public sector intervention and Future High Street Fund investment. The strategic case considered stakeholder issues and dependencies and constraints of the schemes in Torbay.
The commercial case involved an assessment of the deliverability of schemes. We outlined the Council’s ambitions and expectations for the project, the skills and capabilities of the partner development agency managing the delivery of schemes and set out the delivery model to be followed.
The application for Future High Street Funding submitted in 2020 and was successful in securing £13.36m to kickstart the regeneration of Paignton town centre. Delivery of the first project commenced in Summer 2021.