Tories promise powers to regenerate decaying estates would be devolved to street level

Powers to regenerate decaying estates would be devolved to street level under a Conservative government, the shadow housing minister has suggested.

In another move, shadow communities secretary Caroline Spelman has also written to Conservative local authorities to set out more clearly the practicalities of her party’s intention to scrap regional planning structures.
 
According to the letter, the Conservatives will introduce a local government and housing bill in its first year of office to abolish regional spatial strategies (RSS).

In a speech to the Royal Institute of British Architects, reports New Start magazine, Grant Shapps MP set out the Conservative approach to inner-city regeneration. He noted that cutting edge design and zero tolerance approaches to anti social behaviour have made a difference to people living on inner city estates.

But he said he’d witnessed how some of these ‘21st Century developments’ are already displaying the tell-tale signs of decline, with beer bottles and discarded shopping trolleys now blighting recently revamped neighbourhoods.

Mr Shapps also described how on one estate he’d seen a group of youngsters ‘aimlessly hanging around as if waiting for something or someone to inspire them’, when they should be in school.

‘What all this demonstrates is that design – no matter how great – won’t cut it on its own,’ he said.

Mr Shapps said a Conservative government would provide the means for street level initiatives to be used to kick-start the regeneration of tired estates and inner-city areas, shifting away powers from quangos and towards communities.

He said there would be a shift in emphasis away from creating Decent Homes to generating Decent Places, using Enquiry by Design and charettes to promote communities’ ownership of their neighbourhood.

‘We will encourage power to be exercised at the very lowest levels of local government, by which I mean parish, ward, but also street level in order to force faster change directed by the very people it will most affect.’

Mr Shapps later told New Start that he didn’t want to be too prescriptive about how the street level initiatives would be governed, but he indicated that residents’ groups and local regeneration bodies would have a role.

‘The key is not to say only this kind of body can do this,’ he said. ‘The idea is that different bodies would lead in different places.’Shadow communities secretary Caroline Spelman has written to Conservative local authorities to set out more clearly the practicalities of her party’s intention to scrap regional planning structures.

According to the letter, the Conservatives will introduce a local government and housing bill in its first year of office to abolish regional spatial strategies (RSS).

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