Pathfinders in plea to government
Organisations set up to tackle low demand for housing in the north and midlands have acquired enough land to build 40,000 new homes.
The news emerged in a letter the chairs of the 10 housing market renewal pathfinders have sent to the government asking it to safeguard the future of their 15-year programmes.
The pathfinders are currently six years into their programme, and are concerned recent cuts of 17 per cent to each of their budgets could indicate a lack of commitment from the government. In June, communities secretary Eric Pickles also removed the ring fence from the £236 millon housing market renewal budget.
The letter asks Mr Shapps for clarity on the future of housing market renewal and lists its achievements, in-cluding 82,000 refurbishments, 12,000 new builds and 23,000 demolitions.
Jim Coulter, chair of Bridging Newcastle Gateshead, said: ‘We are arguing that the programme has significant achievements that fit in to a number of the coalition government’s priorities around the big society and also some of their policies around empty homes.’
In a brochure sent out with the letter, Dr Ed Ferrari, lecturer in town and regional planning at Sheffield University, argued that the projects were at a ‘turning point’, and that ‘to fail to deliver regeneration promises has dire consequences for the faith both of communities in their leaders and of markets in our cities.’
William Palin, secretary at SAVE Britain’s Heritage, said: ‘SAVE would like to see an immediate halt to demolitions under the pathfinder programme.’
The Communities and Local Government department did not wish to comment.