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The key to regeneration

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Interviewee: Tessa Kimber, Partner in Regeneration and Real EstateInterviewer: Tessa, the Government has recently published its infrastructure plan for 2014 looking at how to deliver large infrastructure projects. What’s caught your eye?Tessa: Well the most interesting thing from my perspective as someone who has been working on major development projects for a long time is that finally we have got a formal recognition of the link between delivery of infrastructure, transport infrastructure in particular and regeneration and delivery of housing and other commercial developments. The projects that we’ve worked on have demonstrated in almost every single circumstance that that is the case but we’ve never had a formal recognition of some policy based around that position.Interviewer: And what projects have you worked on that exemplify that?Tessa: The most obvious one is London 2012 which we’ve been working on for the last 7/8 years, right from the outset. It’s been an amazing project. The regeneration aspects of it have been absolutely wonderful. If you go down to Stratford now you wouldn’t recognise it from the place that I visited 7 or 8 years ago which is fantastic. The housing that’s already there and the housing that’s being delivered none of that would be there. The transport infrastructure has made Stratford one of the most well connected places in the UK and has been put in as part of the delivery of the Olympics.Interviewer: So what have been the main changes in this plan?Tessa: I think previously partly in plan and partly in what we saw in practice was projects that were involved in – they did deliver the housing but it was sort of a by-product of other political decisions so the political decision to hold the Olympics leading to the regeneration of Stratford, the political decision for example on Greenwich Peninsula which we worked on where the decision to host the central Millennium celebrations allowed for the clean-up of Greenwich Peninsula and the O2 Arena etc. The regeneration was a by-product. What the national infrastructure plan now does is allow and recognise the need for the infrastructure to create regeneration in its own right rather than as a by-product.Interviewer: But Tessa what obstacles still remain?Tessa: It’s the same obstacle that we’ve come across in all the major infrastructure projects that BLP has been involved in over the years. It’s finding the right balance between the objectives of the public sector on the one hand who are interested in economic downturns, housing, the regeneration outputs and the private sector who ultimately are interested in making financial returns for their shareholders. You need to find a way in which to recognise those, respect those and in a way that allows for the products to continue over what may be a 20-30 year cycle and the economic changes that might occur during the course of that time.Interviewer: Tessa, thank you.

Tessa Kimber, Partner in Regeneration and Real Estate, gives her views on the most critical aspects for the success of major regeneration projects.

The main change that came out of the National Infrastructure Plan 2014  is that it allows and recognises the need for the infrastructure to create the regeneration in its own right, rather than a by-product.

During the video, Tessa looks at a number of projects that BLP has worked on and how the regeneration aspects of such work have been so successful due to the timely implementation of infrastructure.

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