Wednesday, 01 April 2015

Housing market renewal areas 'need public cash'

More public investment is needed in former housing market renewal areas before private finance will return, according to a report published today (Thursday).

The report carried out by Sheffield Hallam University and commissioned by the former chairs of housing market renewal pathfinders, looks at Labour’s HMR programme, which was set up to tackle low demand for housing in the midlands and the north.

The report says the programme, which received £2.2 billion of funding before it was axed last March, enabled the refurbishment of 108,000 homes.

It says: ‘In many areas where regeneration was not completed before programme closure, more public investment is needed before private investment will return on a long term and sustainable basis.’

Ministers have suggested the £1.4 billion regional growth fund set up by the current government could help to channel private investment into former HMR areas.

The report also says the HMR programme was successful in creating renovation activity and new homes in inner urban areas.

It says: ‘The refocus on the inner city reduced the take of green field land. It also succeeded in reversing the reduction of dwellings in inner city areas and facilitated an increase in net housing supply there. In some areas like Liverpool and inner east Manchester this will be the first time such an outcome has been achieved for half a century.’

Commenting on the report Jo Boaden, chief executive of the Northern Housing Consortium, said: ‘Supporting the renaissance of communities was at the heart of the HMR programme and whilst the way in which we do this will change in light of the programme termination and wider public spending contractions, the need to continue to support neighbourhoods to thrive and develop, to be resilient and positive, does not go away.’

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