In a keynote speech to the Chartered Institute of Housing's annual conference in Harrogate, Mr Curry announced the first-round winners of the government's Estates Renewal Challenge Fund aimed at improving the living conditions of thousands of tenants.
He said: 'The government is the driving force behind a housing agenda which includes the regeneration of needy and run-down estates. This programme will allow tenants on 29 estates, some of which are among the most notorious in the country for inner city problems, to vote for a transfer to private landlords. This will bring in a further £250m of private investment.
'With the number of households set to rise by 4.4 million between 1991 and 2016, we must put housing policy squarely in the context of regeneration. The new homes we have to provide should bring about the rebirth of our cities, not sound the death knell of our countryside.
The winners are not only the local authorities involved, but the thousands of tenants who will benefit from a better quality home.'
Details of the winning estates are as follows:
1. Sandwell, West Midlands.
Units to be transferred: 7,053 Allocation: £40.502m (£6.242m 1996/97)
Estates: Woods/Mesty-Croft, Friar Park, Codsall, Bristnall, Harvills- Hawthorn, Millfields A scheme to transfer 7,053 dwellings to 3 different new local housing companies. The scheme has strong links with Sandwell Regeneration Partnership.
2. Hackney, London
Units to be transferred: 3,112 Allocation: £16.532m (£2.797m 1996/97)
Estates: Kingsmead, Haggerston, Kinsland, Whitmore, Northwold, Southwold, Wigan House, High Hill A bid to transfer 3,112 dwellings on 8 separate estates to a new landlord. Hackney's proposals are part of their Estates Regeneration Scheme. This involves the potential transfer of 6 packages of estates amounting to over 7,000 dwellings.
3. Sheffield (Norfolk Park), Yorkshire and Humberside Units to be transferred: 1,802 Allocation: £19.831m (£2.67m 1996/97) Estate: Norfolk Park A scheme to transfer 1,802 dwellings to a new local housing company.
This scheme is closely linked to the SRB scheme at Norfolk Park.
4. Tower Hamlets, London
Units to be transferred: 1,789 Allocation: £23.302m (£4.028m 1996/97)
Estates: Burdett, Lincoln, Lansbury A scheme to transfer 1,789 dwellings on 3 estates to a local housing company (Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association). This is part of the boroughs regeneration strategy and a longer term proposal to transfer around 13,000 properties.
5. Brent, London
Units to be transferred: 1,505 Allocation: £18.795m (£1.350m in 1996/97)
Estates: Churchend (new estate), Churchend (old estate), Roundwood Ascheme to transfer 1,505 dwellings on 3 estates to Ealing Family Housing Association.
6. Merton, London
Units to be transferred: 972 Allocation: £13.882m (£2.662m 1996/97)
Estate: Pollards Hill A scheme to transfer 972 dwellings on the Pollards Hill estate to an existing housing association. The scheme is linked to wider regeneration proposals, including an economic-focused SRB bid.
7. Stoke-on-Trent, West Midlands
Units to be transferred: 935 Allocation: £10.289m (£1.66m 1996/97)
Estate: Bentilee A scheme to transfer 935 flats on the Bentilee Estate to a new community based housing association.
8. Tameside, North West
Units to be transferred: 904 Allocation: £.566m (£1.953m 1996/97)
Estates: West Park, Richmond Park. A scheme to transfer 904 dwellings on two estates to a local housing company (West Ashton Homes). The proposal is part of the councils broader regeneration strategy - including the West Ashton Renewal Area and the (employment-related) Tame Valley Partnership SRB scheme.
9. Lambeth, London
Units to be transferred: 479 Allocation: £12.797m (£1.893m 1996/97)
Estate: Moorlands A scheme to transfer the Moorlands estate in Brixton to Metropolitan Housing Trust. The bid complements other regeneration initiatives in the area.
10. Durham, North-East Units to be transferred: 223 Allocation: £3.281m (all in 1996/97)
Estate: Sherburn Road A scheme to transfer 223 properties to the Three Rivers Housing Association. The transfer is closely linked to Durhams wider SRB objectives for the estate.
11. Sheffield (Raeburn Blocks), Yorkshire and Humberside
Units to be transferred: 96 Allocation: £1.989m (£1.489m 1996/97)
Estate: Raeburn Place A scheme to transfer 2 tower blocks (96 dwellings) to North British Housing Association.
12. Newham, London
Units to be transferred: 64 Allocation: £2.571m (£0.705m 1996/97)
Estate: Woodlands A small scheme to transfer 64 flats to Rodinglea Housing Association with their subsequent conversion into 104 single-person units.