A DEAL BETWEEN PETERBOROUGH CITY COUNCIL AND DEVELOPER LUCENT STRATEGIC LAND FUND AIMS TO DRIVE FORWARD PLACEMAKING PROJECTS, SUSIE SELL FINDS. ~ This article is originally published in PlacemakingResource.com. Read the original article. Challenge Peterborough City Council has been looking at how it can bring forward brownfield sites in the city centre, including the Fletton Quays area. However, rather than just selling the land, the council wanted continued involvement in their development, says Howard Bright, head of growth delivery at Peterborough City Council. “[Fletton Quays is] a prime site in the city centre, so we had a real interest in having a day-to-day hand in the scheme that came forward and was developed,” he says. Solution The council began discussions with property developer Lucent early last year about forming a joint venture property development vehicle to bring forward development, including the Fletton Quays site. By December, an agreement had been signed that provided the legal framework for how the initiative would work. In terms of the Fletton Quays site, the joint venture will see the council at the very least put in the land assets, while Lucent will put in the finance to take the development through the planning system, says Bright. “As the scheme is developed… any upside profit is split according to the relative investments both partners make,” he says. “To illustrate, if [for example] both parties put in a value of a £1 million then any upside is split 50/50.” Bright says the process of reaching agreement between the parties was “quite painless”, adding that the general ethos was to create a partnership where both parties worked by consensus. He says that there is no controlling party, with decision making, both at board level and at the operational day-to-day management, by consensus. “It’s all about getting the scheme developed, and solutions developed that work for both of us,” he adds. Richard Quirk, CFO for Lucent Group and joint managing partner of the joint venture, says a collaborative approach was taken to developing the agreement, with both parties looking in the same direction and sharing the same goals. “It was about making sure the corporate governance policies were understandable and agreeable by both sides,” he says. “I don’t think we really had to compromise much on either side.” It took just over six months for the agreement to be reached – a typical timeframe, says Quirk. “Our model is not overly complicated,” he says. “We sit down with people and get them to understand that, yes, it is that straightforward: you put in the land, we put it in the cash, and we take it forward jointly.” Bright points out that iterative discussions between different lawyers can “eat time and create cost”. He says a series of workshop sessions were held which helped to speed up discussions. “The single biggest jumps in progress were always when we had everybody around the table – various people within the council and Lucent, our lawyers and their lawyers – and you would hammer through in a workshop environment discussion points and … you would make a significant amount of progress quite quickly,” he adds. Quirk agrees, adding that the best way to reach agreement is not through email exchanges. “[It’s important] to sit down and … talk it through as many times as possible, and get them to understand how it works and how they can interact with it,” he says. “Because it isn’t that we’re looking to do this ourselves, that were are not just bringing the cash and the people. We need their people involved in it as well.”

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