The property-led revival of Britain’s deprived cities will stall unless more government money is available, a leading developer has warned.
Tom Bloxham, founder of Urban Splash said: 'Regeneration has been paid for by the profits of residential development. We have got to find new money.
'We need more public/private partnerships. The challenge for the government is that we still need 3m houses and continued regeneration of our cities and towns.'
The company, which has won 265 business and architecture awards since its creation in 1993, has laid off almost a quarter of its 280-strong workforce and halted new projects.
It is the first time Bloxham has had to shed staff. The turnround has been stark. Three years ago buyers – many buy-to-let investors – camped overnight for apartments in the Rotunda, Birmingham, a tower converted from offices. Now Urban Splash has become a landlord, renting out 200 units.
'What surprised us and everybody else was the speed with which [the slump] happened,' he said. Mortgage finance seized up in August, turning negative, which sent the market into freefall. He said cashflow was strong and its £200m debt has a five-year term. He said city-centre living had been transformed along continental lines and there was still demand though too many cheap, poor-quality flats had been built.