£400m war chest for regeneration body following new investment

Salford Central

Regeneration body, ECF (formerly the English Cities Fund), has doubled in size to deliver more place-changing projects across the region and beyond.

ECF is a partnership between three of the UK’s main regeneration and investment organisations, Homes England, Legal & General and Muse.

The partnership has expanded with the injection of an additional £100m of equity from the partners, to be matched by an additional £100m of debt, which provides capacity for ECF to grow to £400m to deliver transformational change in areas that need it most.

ECF, a public-private partnership, brings together Homes England’s ambition to deliver more affordable housing, Legal & General’s proficiency and experience in investing in transformative real estate and infrastructure, and Muse’s expertise in urban regeneration. It was first created in 2001 with £100m of investment to boost priority regeneration areas.

By 2036 ECF is expected to deliver more than one million sq ft of commercial space to support education, 17,000 new homes, and additional social infrastructure to support health and wellbeing.

ECF delivers with a focus on place-based impact and investing in opportunities which deliver risk-adjusted returns, alongside positive social and environmental outcomes.

Since its first investment in Liverpool in 2001, ECF has:

  • Completed five mixed-use regeneration projects across England (Liverpool, London, Plymouth, Salford, and Wakefield) worth £1.2bn
  • Delivered 2,150 homes in new neighbourhoods, along with 1,150,000 sq ft of office, retail, and leisure space, and created more than 8,000 jobs
  • Constructed the largest Passivhaus-certified affordable housing project in the North West boasting 96 affordable apartments
  • Reimagined a former surface car park in Salford, now the Eden building, which is a pioneering 12-storey office building. It is set up to be net zero carbon in operation in accordance with the UK Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Framework and hosts Europe’s largest living wall
  • Developed plans for an innovation district at Salford Crescent with Salford Council and the University of Salford
  • Delivered new community infrastructure including a library and community centre at Rathbone Market in London and facilitated the delivery of the 1,000-pupil Plymouth Academy and 171-berth marina at Millbay.

With a strong pipeline, additional capital will build on ECF’s success to date. Increasing in size will ensure ECF has a faster and greater impact across new locations, alongside existing place-based partnerships – Salford Crescent, Manor Road Quarter in Canning Town, Stockport 8 and St Helens, Merseyside.

Sir Michael Lyons, chair of ECF, said: “ECF has had a real impact on cities such as Salford, Liverpool, London and Plymouth. We have really changed the places in which we have invested. We have provided homes, jobs, work space and new public realm. We always take a long term view, emphasise sustainable change and work closely with local partners, sharing risks and rewards where that is possible.

“With this further expansion we will be able to invest in new towns and cities and will continue to bring our unique mix of policy expertise, long term investment and development capability to support their communities.”

Peter Denton, chief executive of Homes England, said: “This expansion will support ECF’s strong project pipeline, continuing the work of this long standing partnership and creating vibrant new places, jobs, homes and opportunities across the country.”

Laura Mason, chief executive, Legal & General Capital, said: “This additional injection of capital allows ECF to expand at pace as it continues to deliver strong returns and positive impact. With an increased appetite from other purpose-driven investors looking to access opportunities that drive returns, alongside impact, we recognise that this is an attractive partnership.”

Phil Mayall, managing director at Muse, said: “ECF’s expansion is testament to the team’s success over two decades, with a track record of delivery. With greater resources, we will have an even greater impact on places and communities. Our team will work with new and existing partners, across all the regions in which we operate, to realise this potential in a way which delivers genuine social value.”