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LONDON-Construction giant AMEC and financial services group Legal & General have been selected as the private sector backers for the English Cities Fund, developed by the UK government’s regeneration agency English Partnerships to channel up to £250 million ($360 million) into deprived neighbourhoods.

The fund will focus on areas located on the fringes of town and city centres which have found it difficult to compete with the appeal of a thriving nearby centre. Regeneration Minister Lord Falconer said: ‘The problems affecting some of these areas are keenly felt by those living there – a lack of investment, poor quality housing, lack of access to services, no jobs. The English Cities Fund will secure greater private investment in regenerating these parts that badly need it.’

The launch of the fund follows approval from the European Commission which cleared the English Cities Fund as a legitimate form of state aid. To kickstart the fund up to £100 milllion ($143 million) will be invested in up to six projects. The partners have already been working for a year with local authorities and Regional Development Agencies to identify suitable projects. They expect to be ready to launch the first investment in the New Year.

Jones Lang LaSalle advised English Partnerships on the feasibility, structuring and financing of the fund, the selection of Legal & General as investment manager and AMEC as development manager.

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