THE process of setting up a council-owned company has passed its latest major hurdle after a business case for the project was approved.

Cabinet members backed the idea last month and now BCP Council’s chief executive has given final approval for the creation of the new company.

A report published on Tuesday confirming his decision said the arrangement would give “sharper focus” to projects involving the regeneration of major sites in the area.

At May’s cabinet meeting, councillors said the council did not have the “expertise” to effectively manage this work in-house.

“If we’re going to make a significant difference to people’s lives, it can’t be done by people who already have a demanding day job,” councillor Beverley Dunlop, the council’s lead member for regeneration in Bournemouth said. “It’s something we really must put a focus on.

“Urban living is changing, environmental needs are changing, transport habits are changing.

“If we’re going to get ahead of that curve, we have to start focusing on it now and build our towns as places people want to live and work.”

Cabinet members were told the council was in a position to have the company founded “within a matter of weeks”.

But their unanimous approval was dependent on a business case being approved by chief executive Graham Farrant. This was done on Tuesday.

“The decision will enable the Council to procure commercial property development skills and expertise to supplement in-house staffing resources,” a report confirming the decision says. "This will ensure a sharper focus on the delivery of regeneration sites than is possible within the constraints of the council’s staffing resources, given the demands it faces across its key service areas."

It says the company will “focus primarily on accelerating the pipeline of local sites to deliver sustainable development” and would “boost” the council’s capacity to move these projects forward.

The business case identifies “at least 12 major publicly-owned sites” it would be involved with.