An independent commission has called on ministers to develop a national £10bn regeneration masterplan to help ‘places and people in greatest need’.
The final report by the Great Places Commission claims the government has ‘retreated’ from major regeneration programmes since 2011, which has widened the ‘wealth and opportunity gap’ between some parts of the country.
It adds that while devolution schemes such as the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine are ‘welcome’, their ambition has not been matched by resources.
In the report, the commission concludes that the government must create a new national regeneration programme.
It adds that the £1.6bn Stronger Towns Fund is a small step in the right direction – and the Shared Prosperity Fund may help further – but more significant and long-term investment is needed.
Instead it calls for a long-term £10bn regeneration strategy, which should be delivered by a ‘diverse of partners’ and have a ‘holistic’ approach, which includes economic, social and physical priorities.
The report also argues that housing associations should engage with local authorities and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) to ensure affordable housing is central to local industrial strategies.
It also calls on the government to provide local authorities with a sustainable future funding settlement.
The report says this is ‘essential’ so councils can rebuild their capacity and skills, enabling them to lead and coordinate placemaking across every community.
‘The Great Places Commission has devoted a huge amount of time and energy to understanding the obstacles and opportunities faced by places in the North and the Midlands,’ writes National Housing Federation chief executive, Kate Henderson.
‘They are challenging the sector to think differently and ambitiously about our potential to drive positive change, explore new ways of working and forge new partnerships.
‘With the right support from the government, our sector can do so much more. We can be even more ambitious, we can deliver even better results for people and for communities,’ added Ms Henderson.
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