One of the major topics of debate during the Select Committee inquiry was the fate of the Housing Market renewal programme. It was a significant intervention in its own right and its very swift closure was seen as symptomatic of the wider approach of the new government to regeneration.
The Chairs of the Pathfinder projects made a good case for the approach that had been adopted and the outcomes that they were already achieving. They have now backed that up with some research published yesterday. The press notice makes some interesting points:
Amongst the lessons which the authors believe should inform future regeneration policy are the need for long term continuity of funding: ‘regeneration is not a quick fix’ says the report. It also emphasises the importance of strategic planning and regeneration operating in tandem, the value of local planning and public participation based on clear evidence at the neighbourhood level and the integration of housing renewal with training, wealth creation and investment in services such as education and health facilities. The significance of the small sums of ‘early wins’ money at the start of the programme is also endorsed, This allowed careful planning of the major expenditure as well as the immediate implementation of some projects to register the local commitment of the programme..
The authors stress that cross authority working was important to the success of the programme as was the hands off but close relationship between central government and the Homes and Communities Agency on the one hand and the Pathfinders and local authorities on the other. ‘Without this many of the innovative approaches of the programme might not have taken place’ they say.
You can download the full report here.