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'APPLY INTEGRATED APPROACH TO REGENERATING INNER CITIES'

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The regeneration of the UK's inner cities cannot happen without both developing the potential of communities and im...
The regeneration of the UK's inner cities cannot happen without both developing the potential of communities and improving their environment through large-scale renovation of housing stock: that is the message of a briefing issued today by the housing profession.

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), in Housing Regeneration and the Inner Cities, said that the three main political parties have gone into the election with the same approach to reviving inner cities - attracting private finance to stretch limited public funds. The main difference in approach has been the element of compulsion in the Conservative policy to transfer half of council stock to local housing companies or associations in the next decade.

The CIH argued that housing regeneration should not necessarily compete with bids for economic, training and crime prevention initiatives: housing projects could be seen as the agent and partner of other regeneration strategies.

The institute called for regional decision-making on regeneration, rather than determining allocations at local authority level: communities should be more involved in regeneration schemes, with a ring-fenced allocation of regeneration funds at their disposal.

CIH policy officer Louise Aryiss said: 'The essential shortcoming of the current regeneration system is resources. In 1993/94 London received£210m under the Estate Action scheme. In 1996/97 it received just£40m. Birmingham received just£7.1m compared to£68m in 1993/94.

'Unless social and economic issues are dealt with together, renewal is likely to be short lived and scarce public resources will be wasted as communities slip back into a cycle of decline.

'Whatever government is returned on May 1, it should aim to increase funds to tackle disrepair in the nation's housing stock.£20bn is needed just to tackle a backlog of disrepair in the public sector, with a further£6.5bn to bring all private sector homes up to the legal fitness standard.'

-- The full document, 'Housing Regeneration and the Inner Cities', is available on request from LGCNet. Tel 0171 833 7324/5 and we shall fax you a copy.

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