John Jennings is a director of Cornerstone.
He has a successful record of working on both strategic policies and project work. Until 2005 he was Executive Director for Environmental Services at Durham City Council. In this capacity he was responsible for the Durham Millennium City Project, a £30m cultural regeneration for the City, a multiple award-winning scheme including the Civic Trust 2003. This was followed by the “Heart of the City Development Framework”, which to date has attracted some £300m investment in the leisure, hotel and residential sectors. It represents one of the north’s largest regeneration schemes and was one of only eight schemes nationwide to be awarded a CABE Building for Life Standard in 2005.
John has long experience of working in partnerships to deliver employment and training in association with development schemes. He was responsible for the Dragonville Partnership with Tesco plc, which won an award for excellence from Business in the Community in 2002.
Up to 2005 he led the Durham Visioning Project, one of four major economic impact schemes to be identified and supported by the County Durham Economic Partnership. This focussed on producing an integrated package of initiatives through a unique consultation process (devised by Cornerstone Strategies) to raise the performance of Durham as a driver of the regional economy, transform it into a major retail and service centre and become an international tourism destination.
Since then he has been the lead consultant on the Beamish Vision, another of the four high impact schemes. This is designed to attract £40m investment support for the sustainable growth of the North of England open-air museum. The first stage of this Master plan has been successfully completed with several projects underway. These include an iconic new Visitor Centre, major investments in the period areas, the development of a new branding image, and a feasibility study into hotel accommodation.
More recently John has been regeneration consultant with the Esh Group to develop a £40m mixed-use regeneration project in one of the most deprived areas of County Durham. Hailed by Derwentside Council as an example of excellence, the scheme will deliver over 200 homes including starter, affordable and social landlord owned units-all of which will utilise Green by Design techniques. A purpose built incubator unit, including training facilities, will provide accommodation for construction related start up businesses. The project will deliver bespoke training schemes offering a route to work for both local young people and traditionally hard to reach groups through the FIT4E and Fit4E Again initiatives, both of which enjoy beacon status within the DfES. The project has the potential and capacity to widen its scope to include other agencies, schools and educational bodies in response to local priorities.