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Urban Catalyst speaks at our new districts forum on public-private partnerships

Above: CGI from AHMM showing proposed Purfleet market square

Future Cities Forum is delighted that Ken Dytor, Executive Chairman of developer Urban Catalyst, will be returning to our series of mixed-use development discussions. He will be attending our January session with TfL, the Corporation of London, Somerset House Trust and other contributors.

Ken has been overseeing the regeneration of Purfleet in Essex. Purfleet Centre Regeneration Limited, in partnership with Thurrock Council, is leading the regeneration of Purfleet Centre, which Urban Catalyst describes as one of the UK's most exciting urban transformation developments.

It says that the project plans to deliver over 2,500 homes around a new town centre, construction of new community facilities such as a new school and an upgraded rail station together with the development of a state of the art media, film, and TV complex. The aim is to once again open up Purfleet's river frontage, create employment and educational opportunities and drive growth. At over 140 acres the Purfleet Centre Regeneration Project site, the developer states it 'presents a unique opportunity to deliver a transformational development scheme with placemaking at its core. Sharing Thurrock Council’s vision the project is about delivering a new town centre with shops, community facilities, housing, and employment opportunities — all set within a high-quality environment.'

At a Future Cities Forum discussion during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ken responded to a question on

what lessons can be learned around new models of public-private partnerships?

'We put together a true partnership with Thurrock Council. They put their land holding into the pot but we didn't have to pay for it upfront. This structure allowed us to be more challenging in what we could deliver rather than having an expensive land value eating away from the word go. This is a valuable lesson in how public and private sectors can work together. The development agreement we put in place has been instrumental in allowing us to get where we are in a relatively short space of time, and has enabled the unlocking of the government Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) contribution.'

Urban Catalyst has also developed Bermondsey Square. In partnership with the London Borough of Southwark, the developer created a leading edge mixed use regeneration project, which is now home to a rich mix of uses from hotel, open air market, performing arts, restaurants, offices, retail and residential.

It says it was one of the UK’s first true mixed use regeneration schemes and attracted institutional investment and major occupiers such as Sainsbury’s.


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