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The Chartered Institute of Housing in Wales' conference in Newport was told ...
The Chartered Institute of Housing in Wales' conference in Newport was told

that Welsh local government has a good record in housing provision and management over many generations.

In his welcome to delegates at the Celtic Manor Hotel, Newport, Sir Harry Jones, Leader of Newport CBC pointed out that unlike other parts of the United Kingdom, Wales had resisted large scale, high density, system built solutions to housing problems. Much of the local authority provision had been well designed, sensible in scale and is well managed.

He expressed the view that credit should be given to the stubbornness of local councillors who have not been afraid to stand up to government and resist the fads and fashions that have created today's problems elsewhere.

Sir Harry questioned the motives behind stock transfer of local authority housing to new bodies. He argued that the driving force is often the need for investment when the issues of deprivation, poverty and economic health are just as important. He called on government to relax the spending rules for local authorities to bring them in line with other social landlords in Britain and in Europe thereby allowing local authorities to invest in their housing stock without transfer.

Following a successful ballot of tenants and home owners Newport CBC is transferring about 400 homes to a new body called Newport Housing Trust which will be governed by a Board made up of tenants, local authority members and independent persons.

However, Sir Harry pointed out that this represented a small part of Newport's housing stock and robustly defended Newport's role in housing provision by pointing to several local initiatives that demonstrated how the Council is delivering effective community leadership.

Following the introductory address John Perry from the Chartered Institute of Housing pointed out that investment in social housing was actually reducing in Wales while in England it is increasing.

He pointed out that the major problem facing many housing estates is lack of investment and given the failure to date of the government and the National Assembly to increase resources it was a fact that stock transfer was still the only option for increasing investment that local authorities have.

17.04.2000 Wales branch welcomes new chair (Wales)

At the Wales branch annual general meeting members approved the nomination of Selwyn Runnett as its new chair. Selwyn has served on the branch committee for x years and has been vice chair for the last year. Selwyn also played a leading role in organising this year's conference as chair of the conference sub group.

Selwyn now works as a housing consultant but has held senior posts in housing with local authorities and housing associations in England and Wales.

In his acceptance speech Selwyn played tribute to the outgoing chair Jane Wafer. One of Jane's tasks during her year in office was to formulate the branch business plan. This now sets the targets for the branch to achieve.

In response to the chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing, David Butler's commitment to support the work of the branch Selwyn commented on the important role for the institute in influencing housing policy in Wales.

Selwyn identified the need for the institute to influence the policy agenda in Wales but also to remain aware of developments at Westminster, which will set on the legal framework for Wales. This makes the role of the Bbanch and the Cardiff office particularly complex and the support from the central resources of the institute is vital.

Pointing to the changing environment for local authorities and registered social landlords with the review organisational structures, introduction of best value and increasing incentives to merge or form partnerships Selwyn emphasised that it is vital that housing has a strong voice and the Chartered Institute of Housing is the best voice the housing profession has.

17.04.2000 CIH welcomes participative approach to regeneration (Wales)

The CIH in Wales has welcomed the approach adopted by the national assembly for Wales to the regeneration of the country's most disadvantaged communities.

'Communities first', unveiled at the CIH in Wales conference on 31 March by Alan Pugh AM, launches a new approach to community regeneration in Wales setting out a programme for social and economic recovery of the country's most disadvantaged communities.

The launch of the Welsh consultation document has coincided with the launch

of the government's consultation on neighbourhood renewal in England.

Responding to the launch of the Welsh consultation document, the CIH in Wales has commended the national assembly for adopting a more participative approach to community regeneration than has been evident in England, recognising the importance of locally developed solutions and allowing organisations to shape the future of programmes in Wales.

Louise Barnden, director of the CIH in Wales, said: 'The Institute agrees with the need for a unified community-based approach to combat social disadvantage. The assembly expects existing agencies to move funding across policy boundaries and to relinquish control of budgets to partnership boards. If this can be made to happen it will be an achievement which should make a real difference to the most deprived


The assembly is asking for responses to its consultation document by 31 May. The CIH in Wales would also welcome comments from its members to incorporate into its response to the national assembly - comments to Rhian Thomas (policy officer, CIH in Wales).


1. The Chartered Institute of Housing is the only professional organisation representing all those working in housing. Its purpose is to take a leading and strategic role in encouraging and promoting the provision and management of good quality affordable housing for all.

2. The Chartered Institute of Housing has over 15,500 individual members working for local authorities, housing associations, the rent service, academic institutions and within the private sector. Nearly 700 of these members are based in Wales.

3. 'Communities first' is a consultation paper issued by the National Assembly in April 2000 setting out the vision which the Assembly has for the future of Wales' most deprived communities and the concept of how they can be regenerated. Responses to the consultation document are needed by 31 May.

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