Strategy and mission

Investors in Lincoln is concerned with the economic regeneration of Lincoln, with a focus on the physical aspects of that process. Whilst not formally an ‘Urban Regeneration Company (URC)’ and receiving no core support from central Government, Investors nonetheless has the potential to develop its economic regeneration role along similar lines to recognised URCs in other parts of the East Midlands.

Economic regeneration can be described in many ways, but is arguably the interplay of four factors Land, Capital, People and Environment.

1. Policies relating to the use of land

Effective policies in relation to land use are essential to successful economic regeneration. The City Council has, of course, the key role in relation to land use via the planning process, but there are other players, in particular large private and institutional land owners and the County Council, who must take on-board the vision for the area if regeneration policies are to succeed.

The value of land is a crucial factor in the regeneration process. Often seen as the engine driving the process, increases in land value can provide the funds to support many projects in the public realm, as well as deliver important infrastructure improvements. However major increases can also be a powerful brake on development if policies are not carefully managed.

In and around Lincoln, for example, agricultural land can fetch around £5k per acre, whilst permission for housing or retail development can send values soaring 150+ fold overnight. But as well as providing cash:

This potential for huge profits can encourage land owners to sit on lower value industrial land, with the hope that usage policies might change in their favour.

The increases in value can price many employment based projects out of the market.

Carefully thought through long term policies in relation to land use; policies that balance the varying needs of the local community, are therefore essential for economic regeneration to succeed and Investors can play a part in developing those policies.

2. Attracting and using capital

Turning to capital, it is perhaps self-evident that regeneration needs money! This can be private money or public money, or indeed a combination of the two. And in relation to public funds, these may be local, regional, national or European. More often than not major projects will need a combined public/private investment and Investors, as a public/private body, can play a part in developing funding packages. And, as mentioned above, increases in land value, if carefully managed, can provide a valuable source of new funds.

3. The impact of regeneration on local people

It is arguable that the original focus of Investors, ‘to develop those sites in greater Lincoln that are otherwise undeliverable…’, risked excluding the people, or social element of economic regeneration. In practice this may not have been the case, but it is important that the people side of the regeneration equation is always included in the development of any projects. Without that we are simply throwing ‘bricks and mortar’ at the problem, which will not provide sustainable solutions.

4. Protecting and improving the environment

Our work in developing sites is about improving our environment, whether we are turning a derelict piece of land into a public park or build an office complex. The ‘quality of life’ that we prize so much in greater Lincoln depends for its continuance on careful consideration of the environmental impact of regeneration policies. And this is not just an issue for ‘Historic Lincoln’ or for the ‘rural fringe’. Improving the environment for everyone living, working and playing in greater Lincoln is an essential part of progress and is central to our mission.

Presenting these four factors as a series of overlapping circles helps to demonstrate their interdependence and the model can provide a less complex Mission Statement, as set out below.

The Mission of Investors in Lincoln is to make a positive contribution to the economic, social and environmental well being of the greater Lincoln area.