A £1.5bn regeneration project in Solihull, Birmingham, is the first to adopt the LIFT funding method – normally used for healthcare and education schemes.

LIFT, which stands for Local Improvement Finance Trust, involves the local authority forming a company with a private investor.

In Birmingham, the local authority’s company, North Solihull in Partnership, will be charged with delivering private houses, schools, infrastructure hubs, employment opportunities and affordable housing.

Ben Denton, director of financial specialist Abros, said the LIFT concept was being looked at closely by English Partnerships, the ODPM and the Housing Corporation.

He said: “It’s a LIFT structure except the public sector holds land rather than equity. It’s all about aligning the delivery of homes to the strategic infrastructure.”

He said that EP chief executive David Higgins, Housing Corporation boss Jon Rouse and David Lunts of the ODPM had all visited the scheme. North Solihull in Partnership is supported by quantity surveyor EC Harris, masterplanner EDAW and West Mercia Housing Group.

  • The ODPM and English Partnerships have launched a pilot programme in 12 areas to bring 66,000 ha of brownfield land into development use. They include Easington in North Yorkshire; Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria; Manchester; Sheffield; Mansfield in Nottinghamshire; Dudley, West Midlands; Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire; and Ipswich, Suffolk.