Apply for Black Country Land and Property Investment Funding

The Black Country Land and Property Investment Fund seeks to invest in projects which will support the re-use of brownfield land and buildings and the delivery of supporting infrastructure.  It will invest to secure new housing, industrial and commercial development.

The Black Country LEP needs to develop an ongoing pipeline of potential projects for the Land and Property Investment fund and is seeking proposals for projects, in particular, potential housing developments that can re-use brownfield land and buildings.


How to apply for Land and Property Investment funding

Applicants should begin by completing an Initial Proposal which will be submitted to and assessed by Black Country Consortium Programme Management Office (PMO) against published predefined criteria. Only if successful will the Bidder be invited to progress through the Business Case appraisal process. 


The Business Case Stages

Initial Proposal

The purpose of the Initial Proposal is to provide a high level overview of the project, and the opportunities it presents and the risks it entails. Applicants are required at this initial stage to specify which of the Black Country LEP Growth Objectives and Measures of Success will be addressed and how the proposal will unlock the identified Growth Objectives.  Clear strategic alignment to the Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) is paramount in order for the proposal to be considered. Onus is also on applicants to ensure that a project is state aid compliant. See here for information and guidance on State Aid.

Any organisations or businesses that are interested should download and complete the Initial Proposal form below and email it to PMO@blackcountryconsortium.co.uk


Download the Initial Proposal here>>>


Full Business Case 

The Business Case follows the recommended standard set by HM Treasury and is based on the Five Case Model. The five different aspects which are interconnected but distinct include the Strategic Case, the Economic Case, the Commercial Case, the Financial Case and the Management Case. 

The Full Business Case (FBC) is the detailed planning stage where the applicant will revisit and build on the information supplied in the Initial Proposal. The full business case will be used to inform prioritisation where there are overall programme affordability considerations.

A copy of the Full Business Case and the full set of appendices will be provided by the PMO once an Initial Proposal bid has been received and appraised. 

During the FBC stage of the project lifecycle the bid will be subjected to legal and financial Due Diligence (DD) to be carried out by a third party on behalf of City of Wolverhampton Accountable Body. A contract for grant funding cannot be awarded until full Due Diligence has been completed.

Download the LPIF Stage 2 Due Diligence Checklist here.  


Live / In-flight projects 

Once a project has received approval from the LEP Board, the Joint Committee and has been awarded a signed Grant Agreement from City of Wolverhampton Accountable Body it is considered ‘Live’. During this stage of the project lifecycle the PMO will be responsible for all monitoring and performance reporting for all projects receiving grant Support. The appointed Project Manager will report fortnightly updates to the PMO through completion of a Project Status Report using online reporting tool - VERTO.


Other Useful Documents

Download the Land and Property Investment Fund Generic Grant Agreement here.

Download the Land and Property Investment Fund Stage 2 Due Diligence Checklist here.  

Download the Land and Property Investment Fund Branding Guidelines here.

Black Country Land and Property Investment Fund event presentation - 7 November 2017.


Contact the PMO

If you wish to speak to the PMO prior to submitting your Initial Proposal, please contact Ian Cribbes on 07944 268 738, or by email – ian_cribbes@blackcountryconsortium.co.uk;  or PMO@blackcountryconsortium.co.uk



Your Questions Answered

1. What type of funding is available?

2. What type of schemes can be funded?

3. Who can apply?

4. Will there be a call for funding?

5. Is there a minimum or maximum of grant support I can apply for?

6. Is there a deadline for submissions for funding?

7. What are the key outputs of the programme?

8. How is the Programme managed?

9. What are the respective roles of the PMO and Accountable Body? 

10. What is the first stage of the application process? 

11. How will my bid be assessed? 

12. What are the Heads of Terms? 

13. What information will I need to provide at each stage?

14. How Quickly Would I Receive A Response?

15. What is the Due Diligence Process?

16. What is State Aid, and when do I need to consider this?

17. What is required from me regarding procurement?

18. Do I need to advertise through the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) when procuring supplies, services or works on behalf of my project? 

19. Are there any specific conditions associated with my grant?

20. What if my project is a Site Investigation or development study?

21. What information will the Accountable Body, City of Wolverhampton Council, need me to provide to support my grant claims, visits and project audits? 

22. What is Gap Funding?

23. For whom is Gap Funding Available and Where?

24. On What Criteria Are Gap Funding Schemes Appraised?

25. In the Event That My Application Is Successful, How Would Funding Be Paid?

26. What do I do next?



1. What type of funding is available?

The funding available through the Land and Property Investment Fund is Grant. 

However please note that there are other funds available throughout the Black Country including: 

  • Growth Deal - Grant
  • Site Investigation Fund – Grant
  • PWLB Investment Fund – Loan
  • Growing Places – Loan

For business support services and to find out about business funding opportunities including grant, loan or equity funding available visit the Black Country Growth Hub here.


2. What type of schemes can be funded?

The Land and Property Investment Fund is a capital programme aiming to bring together local, national and private sector funding to unlock key housing and employment sites, create more highly skilled jobs, and support economic growth throughout the Black Country. The BC LEP is seeking to support projects that will contribute towards our Strategic Growth Objectives:  

  • Site Remediation
  • Commercial Floorspace
  • New Jobs
  • Private Sector Leverage
  • New Homes
  • Learner Outcomes/Apprenticeships


In addition to large capital schemes the Land and Property Investment Fund (LPIF) programme also has provision to fund Site Investigations. Grant up to the value of 200 Euros is available (subject to State Aid requirements) to enable site owners to procure site investigation and technical studies to inform the market, de-risking sites in advance of marketing and to enable a greater understanding of cost implications of identified remediation works. Funding is available in relation to both residential and employment sites.

To date the BC LEP has funded a multitude of capital schemes through our Growth Deal Programme ranging from expansion to the Wolverhampton Science Park through the Science, Technology and Prototype Centre, enhancing the capacity of Black Country businesses to innovate and exploit new opportunities, to site related projects such as the Goscote Lane Corridor Housing Regeneration, an £88m transformational programme to bring forward a residential development of 741 homes, to transport works to ‘Access Growth’ - a fund to deliver smaller schemes (above £500,000, but less than £5,000,000) which improve access to employment sites and strategic centres.

Further information on the projects the Black Country LEP has awarded funding for can be found here.


3. Who can apply?

The fund is open to applications from both private and public sector organisations or, with regards to commercial or residential development, any person with a legal interest in a site within the Black Country and capable of delivery within the short term. The application process is competitive in nature.


4. Will there be a call for funding?

No. The first tranche of fund is open to bidders for the programme duration (2017-2021), with a further £97million earmarked to the Black Country for subsequent 6 years.  

The Black Country are committed to developing a substantial pipeline of high quality schemes to take advantage of future funding opportunities as soon as they become available. Hence applications for deliverable schemes with a strong strategic fit to the Black Country's objectives for regeneration are encouraged.


5. Is there a minimum or maximum of grant support I can apply for?

There is no maximum or minimum amount governing Applications.

The Investment Fund is seeking to deliver significant volumes of Outputs. Applications that offer good value for many will not limited in bidding for up to a 30% contribution to support their scheme, subject to state aid constraints based on the size of the bidder,  in accordance with block exemptions and permitted intervention levels. This tends to run at Grant (Intervention ) rates to Applicants of 10%, 20% and 30% for large medium and smaller companies respectively.


6. Is there a deadline for submissions for funding?

There is no fixed closing deadline for receipt of applications. 


7. What are the key outputs of the programme?

The key output is delivery of economic growth, assessed through 

  • Site Remediation
  • Commercial Floorspace
  • New Jobs
  • Private Sector Leverage
  • New Homes
  • Learner Outcomes/Apprenticeships


8. How is the Programme managed?

The Programme is administered and managed under an Assurance Framework through the Black Country Consortium Ltd PMO and City of Wolverhampton Council Accountable Body. The Assurance Framework has been set up to embed best practise, ensure transparent decision making, and to ensure that robust value for money processes are in place. 

The PMO at the Black Country Consortium manage the LPIF programme on behalf of the BC LEP. The Accountable Body for the Programme, the organisation who is contractually responsible for administering and distributing the funding to eligible delivery partners ensuring that the programme is delivered with financial probity, is City of Wolverhampton Council. 


9. What are the respective roles of the PMO and Accountable Body? 

The PMO provides the decision support behind successful programme management. It is responsible for supporting the programme governance, project processes and day to day management of the programme, informing the oversight and governance of the programme by the Joint Committee and its relevant sub-committees. It provides information to the Black Country LEP Board advising them of the progress of projects against plan, conflicting priorities and programme risks. It will scrutinise and challenge project submissions against the SEP and recommend accordingly. 

City of Wolverhampton Council will be the Accountable Body for the LPIF and will:

  • Ensure full Due Diligence processes to validate Bidders and scheme bids, focused on the use of a set of Frameworks providing expert professional suppliers who will deliver:

            - Professional Property scheme evaluations 

            - Financial evaluations of the Bidder’s ability to deliver the Scheme 

            - Professional evaluations of the Company’s trading status

            - Expert Property based proposed Heads of Terms for each Scheme

            - Commercial Legal expertise to Draft Theme specific Contracts 

            - Professional QS or Property Surveyor validation of Scheme grant claim

  • Manage the contractual relationship with the Land and Property Investment Fund projects, ensuring they meet their contractual targets and that these remain current and up to date; 
  • Account for Land and Property Investment Fund, utilising its own internal audit, accountancy and treasury management systems in the delivery of its role. 

 

10. What is the first stage of the application process? 

Submissions are actively encouraged from any Black Country stakeholder, including public, private and third sector.  To minimize the barrier to entry the first Initial Proposal form has been designed to be as simple as possible to complete but based around the Five Case Model for Business Cases as defined by HM Treasury. The purpose of the Initial Proposal is to provide a high level overview of the project, and the opportunities it presents and the risks it entails. 


11. How will my bid be assessed? 

Initial Proposals for Site Investigations or Capital Projects will be submitted to property regeneration consultants for technical assessment. 

Clear strategic alignment to the SEP is paramount. The PMO will be looking specifically; to match the proposal to the 3 strategic themes and 12 SEP Programmes; for which the Black Country LEP (BC LEP) Growth Objectives and Measures of Success will be addressed; and how the proposal will unlock the identified BC LEP Growth Objectives.

The PMO will seek technical / expert guidance to validate demand as well as state aid compliance. Proposals will either be endorsed/recommended to proceed or returned.  Proposals requiring 100% funding will automatically be returned.  Those proposals that are returned are invited to resubmit.  Guidance will be offered on the reasons for non-endorsement. 

Those proposals that are endorsed/recommended to proceed are invited to submit a Full Business Case. 

Bids will be submitted to the property regeneration consultants for technical appraisal. The consultants will liaise directly with applicants to gather necessary additional information required to complete technical and cost appraisal. The consultants will also issue and agree a draft Heads of Terms (HoT) with the applicant. The outcome of the appraisal will be a detailed Stage 1 Due Diligence Assessment Report and agreed HoT, which will be submitted to the BC LEP Funding Sub Group (FSG) for consideration.  This is the first stage of the approval process. 


12. What are the Heads of Terms? 

The Heads of Terms are a summary of the Land and Property Investment Fund Grant Conditions which will apply, and they include provisions specific to gap funding schemes.


13. What information will I need to provide at each stage?

At Initial Proposal stage you will be asked to confirm that you have developed a strategy for compliance with State Aid Legislation, as well as high level outputs and spend profile for your project.

At Full Business Case (FBC) stage, you will need to provide full costings, your assessment of alternative options, a full strategy for meeting State Aid, milestones, outputs and spend profile for your project. You may also need to consider offering security against the Grant subject to the results of the financial due diligence undertaken at this stage.  This will be agreed with the Accountable Body 


14. How Quickly Would I Receive A Response?

A response will be provided to an Initial proposal within a period of 2-3 weeks indicating whether a Full Business Case (FBC) will be invited or not. 

Applicants invited to submit and FBC are asked to note that this does not equate to an approval of your project and all work done at this stage remains at the risk of the applicant. 

The appraisal is completed by external technical advisors. The external technical advisors will require 4-5 weeks to complete their full appraisal and stage 1 due diligence (see q.15 below – due diligence) subject to all the required information provided, which will include agreeing draft HoT with both the bidder and the Accountable Body for the fund. 

Once appraisal is completed there a number of approval gateways all bids must pass through, as outlined below. End to End the approval process (post appraisal) will take between 2-3 months.  


I. Funding Sub Group (FSG)

The FSG make recommendations to the BC LEP Board on applications for LPIF.  


II. BC LEP Board – endorse approval of funding award

The Black Country LEP Board has been established since 2012 and currently comprises 13 members; a Private Sector Chairman, 6 Private Sector Members, 1 representative from the social enterprise sector, the 4 local authority Leaders and one representative each of the higher and further education sectors.  The Board will provide the clear vision and strategic leadership and ensure that funds are directed towards the achievement of the objectives of the Black Country Strategy Economic Plan. 


III. Working Group Heads of Regeneration 

The Black Country Heads of Regeneration (Working Group) oversee the delivery of the programme making key recommendations to the Advisory Board of the Black Country Joint Committee. 


IV. Advisory Board

Act as a strategic advisory body; reviewing and recommending objectives for strategic investment across the Black Country in relation to LPIF. 


V. Black Country Joint Committee – approve award of contract

Established by Dudley MBC, Sandwell MBC, Walsall MBC and City of Wolverhampton Council the Black Country Joint Committee acts as a strategic body in relation to the Land and Property Investment Fund setting and reviewing objectives for strategic investment across the Black Country, providing a coherent single position on the major strategic issues, agreeing the allocation of spending and major priorities.  

 

15. What is the Due Diligence Process?

There are two stages – both of which are conducted by external technical consultants. 

Stage 1 ‘Technical’ Due Diligence will involve detailed appraisal of each scheme bid with a thorough examination of the features of the property and/or site proposal.

Stage 1 Due Diligence is designed to provide a Professional Property bid Due Diligence report to the BC LEP Board and City of Wolverhampton Accountable Body. It assesses:

  • Applicants suitability to Contract, through its company structure Track Record and Project Partners
  • The site and its location and features in relation to the scheme bid, and comments on the suitability of the bid
  • The suitability of the Bidders detailed plans for the site / building
  • Comments on the Strategic fit with Black Country Strategic Economic Plan includes three themes relating to People, Place and Business.
  • Fit with Local Council Planning Priorities and guidelines
  • Wider Economic impacts, including progress with local Stakeholder discussions ( who would be affected by the potential scheme)
  • Project options considered, Demand for the schemes, Outputs of the Scheme, and Value for Money offered by the scheme
  • Development Appraisal, Scheme site / Property Values, Cost structures and sources of Finance
  • Bidders ability to deliver the scheme, linked to its track record
  • Potential “conditionality clauses” that would be added to any Contract of Grant award  


Stage 2 Due Diligence is designed to Assess:

  • Financial status of the bidders ability to deliver the scheme 
  • Professional evaluations of the company’s trading status 
  • That the appropriate consents are in place e.g. from the landowner or planning authority
  • That the bidder can confirm they will provide the evidence and information that the Council needs to pay the grant and confirm delivery of outputs.



16. What is State Aid, and when do I need to consider this?

State Definition and guidance taken from the Government’s website:

State aid is any advantage granted by public authorities through state resources on a selective basis to any organisations that could potentially distort competition and trade in the European Union (EU).

The definition of state aid is very broad because ‘an advantage’ can take many forms. It is anything which an undertaking (an organisation engaged in economic activity) could not get on the open market.

Before you submit your initial proposal, you must have considered how you will comply with state aid legislation. It is your responsibility, as an organisation in receipt of public funding, to ensure you comply with the requirements of state aid legislation. However, the Accountable Body will check that you have a strategy in place and have taken appropriate legal advice. 



17. What is required from me regarding procurement?

If your organisation has a procurement policy for the contracting of services and supplies then this must be used when securing goods, service or works on behalf of your LPIF project.  You must be able to demonstrate this keeping supporting documental evidence on your project file.  If your organisation does not have a procurement policy then the Councils Contract Rules must be used and evidenced, see following tables:


GOODS & SERVICES


Total Contract Value   £
Type of Contract
Procurement Process to be Used
Between £2,500 and up to £10,000
Not subject to the Rules but still subject to Best Value
Recommended at least 2 competitive quotations if available
Above £10,000 and up to £50,000
MINOR 
for goods and services

At least 2 written quotations
Above £50,001 and up to EU Threshold
SIGNIFICANT 
for goods and services
At least 3 written tenders
Above EU Threshold and up to £500,000
MAJOR 
for goods and services
The Regulations apply
At least 3 written tenders
£500,001 and above
STRATEGIC
for goods and services
The Regulations apply
At least 4 written tenders


WORKS

Total Contract Value  £
Type of Contract
Procurement Process to be Used
Between £2,500 and up to £10,000
Not subject to the Rules
Recommended at least 2 competitive quotations if available
Above £10,000 and up to £50,000
MINOR 
For works
At least 2 written quotations
Above £50,001 and up to  £164,176 (EU Threshold for goods and services)
SIGNIFICANT 
For works
At least 3 written tenders
Above £164,176 (EU Threshold for goods and services) and up to £500,000
MAJOR
For works
At least 3 written tenders
Above £500,001 and up to EU Threshold (for works)
STRATEGIC 
For works
At least 4 written tenders
EU threshold (for works) and above
STRATEGIC
For works
The Regulations apply
At least 4 written tenders


18. Do I need to advertise through the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) when procuring supplies, services or works on behalf of my project? 

If you are not a publicly funded organisation and work being carried out is above the relevant thresholds (Supplies and Services £164,176 and Works £4,104,394 these thresholds apply from 1st January 2016 and will be in place until the end of 2017) and the grant contribution plus all other public funds received in support of your project total not more than 50% of the costs then the Councils Contract Rules apply, see above table.  Please note if you have received any other grant as match you need to ensure that the Council Contract Rules also cover the funder’s requirements.

If the amount is more that 50% please follow the following link:


19. Are there any specific conditions associated with my grant?

Any specific grant conditions will be assessed on a project case by case basis and will be based on a standard set of conditions called the Heads of Terms.


20. What if my project is a Site Investigation or development study?

There are specific conditions associated with Site Investigations or Development Studies. This type of expenditure is revenue and as the Land and Property Investment Fund is a capital fund it has to be underwritten or an agreement to repay it to City of Wolverhampton Council included in the Grant Agreement (‘clawback’). 

This security/underwriting or obligation will remain in place until an asset has been delivered on the Site in question. 


21. What information will the Accountable Body, City of Wolverhampton Council, need me to provide to support my grant claims, visits and project audits?  

The Accountable Body’s requirements will include, but are not exclusive to:  

  • Claim submission forms*
  • Evidence of spend (transactions) from your financial/accounting system
  • Copies of invoices /subcontractor certificates (with LPIF funded elements or intervention clearly highlighted where applicable)
  • Updates / evidence against overall achievement
  • Copies of procurement policy

*please note that project claims will be validated by a Quantity Surveyor (QS) and may include site visits. 


22. What is Gap Funding?

Gap funding is a public sector investment mechanism to support the delivery of suitable projects by the private sector that show a deficit between project costs and value.  Project costs may include site value, construction costs, associated fees, finance and developers profit.  It gives the BC LEP the ability to assist projects that will significantly contribute to the economic regeneration of the region.

The scheme may support a wide range of speculative or bespoke development projects including site servicing, development of office, industrial, retail, leisure, residential and community related development.


23. For whom is Gap Funding Available and Where?

Any public or private sector developer may apply for Gap Funding to support projects.


24. On What Criteria Are Gap Funding Schemes Appraised?

Projects are appraised against a range of criteria which include regeneration impact, deliverability and value for money against a range of proposed outputs which include land remediated, private sector leverage and outcomes such as new floorspace and jobs created.


25. In the Event That My Application Is Successful, How Would Funding Be Paid?

On the award of funding, the applicant would need to enter into a Grant Agreement with City of Wolverhampton Council as outlined above.  


26. What Do I Do Next?

A copy of an Initial Proposal form, and a range of documents to inform you about the steps required as part of the pre-contracting process for Land and Property Investment Fund Grants can be found here. If you wish to discuss any of the information in more detail please contact:


For information about the Land and Property Investment Fund programme or assessment process:

Ian Cribbes (SEP Delivery Consultant)
The Deckhouse
Waterfront W
Brierley Hill 
DY5 1LW

Tel: 07944 268 738


Lara Cragg (PMO Manager)
The Deckhouse
Waterfront W
Brierley Hill 
DY5 1LW

Tel: 01384 471159


For specific queries about the Grant Agreement, due diligence process or any legal charge requirements:

Helen McGourlay (Finance Business Partner)
City of Wolverhampton Council

Tel:  01902 553470


For queries about Gap Funding or Site Investigation funding opportunities:

Chris Thomas, BSc., MRICS
Thomas Lister
11 The Courtyard
Buntsford Gate
Bromsgrove
Worcestershire
B60 3DJ.

Tel: 01527 871 640