The Northlight development involves the regeneration of an old derelict mill in Nelson, Lancashire. The finished scheme will include a community leisure centre, an adult learning centre, office space, residential units and a hotel. The scheme attracted funding from the private sector, predominantly through Barnfield Investment Properties, and several public sector bodies, including Local Growth Fund monies. We drafted the Local Growth Fund business case for the scheme on behalf of PEARL, a joint venture between Barnfield Investment Properties and Pendle Borough Council. The business case, which followed HMT’s Five Case model, was put forward to justify the need for intervention at the site as the project needed the Local Growth Fund support to be commercially viable. We identified the strategic context for the scheme, highlighting the social and economic issues within the area, and demonstrated how these could be alleviated by the proposed development of a significant landmark in the area. We also looked at the commercial viability of each element of the development, carried out an options analysis based on Green Book guidance to ensure that the preferred route was the best deal in term of value for money, set out the funding route for delivery (including a consideration of state aid) and detailed the corporate and project governance arrangements for the project. The crux of the business case was the Gross Value Added output for the scheme, providing jobs, education and much needed housing in the area. We prepared detailed analysis on this, using accepted benchmarks and best available information.
Following completion of the business case, it was subjected to due diligence on behalf of the Growth Deal Management Board (GDMB). We responded to all due diligence queries on a timely basis and the business case was accepted with minimal changes.
The business case was presented to and approved at the GDMB in February 2016 in line with expectations. Subsequent to this we have been engaged to provide “mini business cases” on each aspect of the development as the scheme develops.