Conference to bring forward devolution case

Conference to bring forward devolution case

Securing devolutionary powers to help fund Europe's largest regeneration project is set to be a major theme at this year's Develop Croydon Conference.

Prominent politicians from both sides of the political divide are ready to state the case for giving the local authorities greater powers at the event, being organised by White Label.

Sir Edward Lister, the Conservative Deputy Mayor of London for Planning and Policy, and fellow keynote speaker Councillor Tony Newman, leader of Labour-controlled Croydon Council, are both strong advocates of devolutionary powers.

Indeed, Sir Edward used a column in last week's Property Week to highlight the transformative benefits of devolution, such as promoting innovation and enterprise.

"From Croydon to Victoria, major regeneration schemes are employing clever designs that will deliver high-density development while putting value on public and green spaces," he wrote.

"Extra powers will mean nothing if they are not used creatively and cleverly to benefit local communities; that means we need to embrace innovation, enterprise and technology. The experience of London shows that if that happens, the results can be transformative."

Gavin Barwell, the Conservative MP for Croydon Central, and Steve Reed, his Labour counterpart for Croydon North, joined forces with other local politicians in taking the case to central government for greater devolutionary powers to help fund the borough's £5.25billion regeneration programme.

Councillor Newman said: "This council has already made a strong case for devolution of powers from Whitehall to local government.

"This would allow all locally generated taxes on new development to be retained by the borough, it would allow the council to borrow against this income and, in partnership with others, invest in much-needed infrastructure supporting housing, jobs, trams, roads and our commercial and cultural offer; all improving our town and, of course, generating further much-needed jobs."

This year's conference is being titled Croydon – London's Future, exploring the way in which the south London town has been leading the way for the capital's outer borough in terms of regeneration, and has attracted some of the biggest names from the world of architecture, placemaking and regeneration.

Delegates will not only be able to listen to the keynote speakers but also participate in a series of workshops and debates designed to drive the agenda with Croydon in the midst of Europe's largest regeneration programme.

Tickets are now on sale at an early bird rate of £354 including VAT, which is available on September 25. The full delegate rate is £420 including VAT. For more details and to book visit www.developcroydonconference.com

The conference is led by Develop Croydon, a not-for-profit community interest company representing more than 50 businesses, partners, agencies and individuals whose aim is to promote Croydon as a location to invest, work and live.