They were set up to regenerate selected inner city areas with large amounts of derelict land/vacant land. This is known as property led regeneration. They were given planning powers over & above local authorities & were given public money to spend on buying land, building infrastructure and then private attracting investment. Idea that private investment would be 5x greater than public money.
Run by a board, made up mostly by local business community.
To gain funding a local authority had to come up with an imaginative project and form a partnership in its local inner city area with the private sector and local communities. The partnership then submitted a 5 year plan to the government in competition with other inner city areas.