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The English Cities Fund’s role as a major client to the construction industry is set to double with additional committed funding set to take the pipeline of major projects up to £400 million.

Now known as the ECF, the group is a regeneration partnership between Homes England, Legal & General, and Muse, and the three partners are putting in a total of £100 million in equity and the same amount in debt.

This will help accelerate a programme of work that includes major regeneration schemes, such as the £90 million commercial and residential-led redevelopment of St Helens town centre in Lancashire (pictured), where VINCI is lined up for the construction work (Project ID: 21468527).

A computer-generated image of the future St Helens town centre in Lancashire, featuring a new market hall, hotel, and public spaces.

A start on site for this scheme is expected in early spring, which was also awarded £20 million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund in January 2023.

Planned pipeline

The English Cities Fund was set up in 2001 with an initial investment of £100 million and works with local government and the private sector to kick-start major regeneration schemes.

With the additional funding, the ECF now expects to help deliver more than one million sq ft of commercial space and 17,000 new homes plus additional social infrastructure to support health and wellbeing by 2032.

Among the major schemes set to be accelerated with the extra funding is a major £858 million regeneration of Bradford to include 1,000 homes, an urban village, and a shopping centre (Project ID: 22340648).

ECF is working with Bradford Council on the plans and a public consultation on the plans closed on January 7. Glenigan’s industry information suggests that a planning application will be submitted by the end of this year.

Other major ECF regeneration schemes in the pipeline include a £70 million plan for 1,000 homes plus retail, leisure, and commercial units in Wolverhampton (Project ID: 17365000). Known as Canalside Quarter, the council has approved a joint venture with the ECF and construction could begin this Autumn.

Work opportunities

After initiating five major regeneration projects with a total value of £1.2 billion in Liverpool, London, Plymouth, Salford, and Wakefield, the ECF is already a major client of the construction industry.

Some of these schemes are complete, but others continue to generate work opportunities. Work is about to start on the £51.5 million second phase of the Manor Road regeneration in Newham, East London (Project ID: 23112776). Morgan Sindall is also on board here as the main contractor.
With the £1 billion Salford Central now complete (Project ID: 09258323), another major scheme is also underway in the city.

Salford Crescent will provide 2.4m sq ft of research and industry space, a hotel, retail space, and more than 2,650 homes (Project ID: 18083281). Morgan Sindall has just begun construction on a £44 million residential package within this development (Project ID: 22222801).

Major client

With more funding secured and work approved, the ECF’s status as a major construction industry client is set to grow.

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