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Listen, Learn, Do: Putting our PPP commitments into action

23.07.19

Last November we launched a report, PPP: The Reset, the outcome of a six-month-long conversation on Public Private Partnerships (PPP), with representatives from the public, private and civic sector.

It wasn’t all talk. The discussions set us on a journey to develop a set of key principles around the way we deliver our PPP projects. As a first and important step, in April this year, we appointed Prof. Sadie Morgan as an independent Non-executive Director to oversee delivery of these principles to ensure our PPP schemes work for the benefit of all.

Today, we are entering the next stage in our PPP journey. We have entered into an agreement with Barnet Council, alongside Joseph Partners, to explore the potential to renew North Finchley High Road. This partnership aims to create a thriving high street that is at the heart of the local community. For U+I, North Finchley will be the first project in which we will put our new PPP approach and principles into action.

We believe that PPPs can deliver transformative improvements for local communities if they are properly involved. Too often local communities are only involved in development decisions once everything is largely agreed between the developer and the Council. This will not be the case for North Finchley. From now until December 2019, we will facilitate a deep and meaningful programme of authentic community engagement. We will listen to, and truly hear, the stories and events that have shaped the area directly from the local communities. We want to get to know the place and the people who live and work in the area. We want to learn about the history of the area and how it’s viewed by residents. Tapping into their knowledge and understanding.

It takes time and energy to listen properly and build trust at a local level. We are yet to agree any development plans with Barnet Council. Our job for the next few months is to consult widely and explore the potential to create a viable development scheme for North Finchley High Road. We believe that to achieve the best development, collaboration with the community is key. Our ongoing conversations with the community will help us to identify the opportunities for the high street and surrounding areas and embed the aspirations of local people into the development proposals we bring forward.

This genuine partnership between developer, public sector and local community will enable us to turn our PPP commitments into action. This will start with the facilitation of this programme of community engagement and consultation, leading to the development of a charter for delivery based on the learnings from our consultation. As this process evolves and develops we will establish a number of initiatives that benefit the community including a Community Profit Share whereby any profit we make above a projected return on this PPP scheme is directly shared with the relevant public body and the local community. A Community Engagement Fund to facilitate greater community involvement as the project progresses and an independent Community Scrutiny Panel at corporate level, that will hold us to the promises we set out in our charter of delivery. An independent Panel, chaired by Sadie Morgan, will be established to assess the long-term performance of all our PPP projects against a series of socio-economic outcomes.

We are driven by our values and a strong sense of responsibility to the places in which we work. It has been said that London is a city of villages, each with their own stories to tell. Appreciating this local flavour and championing an inclusive and transparent approach to development is essential. Through real, collaborative, community-led regeneration, we want to create a living, vibrant place for North Finchley.

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