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Pathfinder bids too high

A £30 million fund to help the areas worst affected by the axing of the housing market renewal programme has received almost £45 million of bids.

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The over-subscription of the fund by almost 50 per cent will result in councils failing to obtain the sums they believe are vital to help people living in blighted neighbourhoods.

Housing minister Grant Shapps announced the ‘lifeline’ fund in May.Local authorities in five HMR areas - Merseyside, East Lancashire, North Staffordshire, Hull and Teesside - were told they could bid for the new funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to get regeneration work back on track.

Councils were asked to only bid for funds that would help families ‘stranded in derelict neighbourhoods through no fault of their own’ following the programme’s closure.

Research by Inside Housing has now revealed that their bids total just over £44 million. Earlier research found that almost 1,000 residents are stranded in blighted neighbourhoods following the closure of the programme.

Councils in the five HMR areas eligible for the £30 million fund now face a nervous wait to see if the HCA will negotiate bids down across the board or reject some bids in their entirety.

The HMR programme was set up under Labour in 2004 and received £2.3 billion in funding to tackle low demand for housing and regenerate communities in the midlands and the north of England.

Hyndburn Council, in the Pennine Lancashire HMR area, submitted a bid for £2.35 million. Mark Hoyle, head of regeneration and housing at the council, said the value of the bid gives the council an ‘exit strategy’ from remaining HMR commitments.

A Communities and Local Government department spokesperson said: ‘We will be announcing the successful bids in due course.’

Bids by area

£6.2 million
Tees Valley

£7.05 million
Pennine Lancashire area

£10 million

£3.9 million

£3.4 million

£6.1 million

£7.4 million
Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent

£44.05 million

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