Shapps announces £30 million fund for stalled pathfinder schemes
Housing minister Grant Shapps has announced a £30 million fund to help households in blighted neighbourhoods after the premature end of the housing market renewal programme.
Local authorities in five HMR areas will be expected to develop and match fund projects to get regeneration work back on track. The areas, which are those where the lowest house prices are well below the regional average, are Merseyside, East Lancashire, North Staffordshire, Hull and Teesside.
The councils will need to bid for funding from the Homes and Communities Agency, and will use other funding pots such as the new homes bonus to develop the schemes.
The Communities and Local Government department said the fund would be a ‘clean break’ with the previous government’s HMR programme, and would not fund completion of old schemes or the buying out of old contracts.
Mr Shapps said: ‘Despite the best efforts of local communities the previous government’s controversial centrally controlled programme of large scale housing demolition hasn’t worked. It pitched neighbour against neighbour and in some cases trapped families in abandoned streets.
‘This coalition government is committed to helping vulnerable people and will not stand by when residents are stranded in derelict neighbourhoods.’
The government ended the HMR programme in March, halfway through its 15 year run. Research by Inside Housing earlier this year found that almost 1,000 residents are living in blighted neighbourhoods following the closure of the programme.