Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 207 - 219)




  207. Can I ask you to introduce yourselves to the Committee?
  (Mr Bailey) Peter Bailey, urban renewal manager for Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council.
  (Mr Boylan) Eamonn Boylan, director, Manchester Housing.

Christine Russell

  208. This morning, you gave us an excellent guided tour of the North Manchester Regeneration area and you took us round Hulme too. Can you briefly compare and contrast your experiences as a local authority in those two areas and what lessons have you derived from those experiences that you will now put into East Manchester regeneration?
  (Mr Boylan) Some of the key differences between the two schemes were the level of resources and the scale of the ambition. In Hulme, we worked with a cocktail of public money which we could probably express at around £200 million in net terms. Thinking of the value back to the local economy, it can be expressed as an insubstantial sum. But we had nothing like that volume available for the comprehensive change we aspired to, to effect something of that order of change in North Manchester. As we move to East Manchester, we are seeking through the creation of the regeneration framework, to make sure we have both ends of the equation properly handled so that we can deal with a strategic set of targets and so that our resource base is sufficient to deliver them.

  209. What lessons do you feel Rochdale has learned from previous experience of regeneration schemes?
  (Mr Bailey) Speaking from very personal experience, we need to be able to identify particular revenue funding streams as well as capital streams.


  210. We were surprised last night to hear that, for one of the job access schemes, 60 employees were taken on to make it succeed but in two years' time there will be a terrible sense of let down for the community if all those staff are taken out of that area.
  (Mr Bailey) It is back to mainstreaming. As a result of that kind of activity, housing is providing additional resources for services users and providers in the area, such as the police, social services, the health authority. We have to put as much mainstream resourcing into that as we can and, through the development of local strategic partnerships we are trying to do that.

  211. Send them the bill?
  (Mr Bailey) Effectively, yes. We are reducing their workload and obviously that is to the benefit of the communities in Rochdale.

Christine Russell

  212. We have seen in Manchester, Liverpool and other cities that there has been no difficulty in encouraging young professionals to move into the heart of the city. How can we persuade these young professionals to move into some of these unpopular neighbourhoods and make a commitment to those areas? We have been told that it would be desirable to achieve a real social mix in those communities. How are we going to do that?
  (Mr Bailey) There is the recognition that there are very different markets. The market in central Manchester is very different from that within Rochdale. There are already a lot of young people living in central Rochdale, particularly within the Asian community, because of the strength of this community. There is a feeling of security.
  (Mr Boylan) The question is not so much how do we encourage them to move into low demand neighbourhoods but is it possible for us to effect the necessary changes so that they can make that the logical choice . Some of the areas we have looked at are not creating the context in which people would make that choice. There is some aspiration value in some of these areas and we need to determine whether we can put together a strategy for getting people into these areas. In some areas, it will be about supporting the existing stock in order to help it accrue value. There are examples of that happening across Manchester and Liverpool.

Dr Pugh

  213. In the centre of Rochdale, you have high household growth and buoyant demand and council estates adjacent with ethnic populations where there is no demand. Are you happy with that?
  (Mr Bailey) No. It is one of the core challenges of our housing strategy. We employ workers to encourage and support members of Asian communities move to other areas but it is not a straightforward process. There are massive cultural differences and, in an area where there are owner occupiers, it is difficult to get somebody to become a social tenant. It is something we are driving towards.

  214. The housing department has its own role in diminishing ethnic divisions across the city?
  (Mr Bailey) Yes.

Helen Jackson

  215. In East Manchester, what does a radically revised planning framework do that a UDP framework cannot?
  (Mr Boylan) We are in the process of revising the UDP in order to facilitate change and make sure we can maintain momentum. We have issued supplementary planning guidance which will inform that process and the ultimate shape of the UDP. We are seeking to approach development opportunities in areas where it is sensible for them to be approached, where they can be taken advantage of, and we are seeking to take advantage of the opportunities that have been created for managing the development of the new town centre. We will be seeking to move through the formal review of the UDP process to using the supplementary planning guidance.

  216. What consultation are you able to have with neighbouring local authorities on your new UDP?
  (Mr Boylan) There will be consultation through the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities.

  Chairman: A note would be helpful.

Helen Jackson

  217. Are there ways in which you feel the current system of compulsory purchase orders, in developing those neighbourhood renewals, could be eased or changed to make that job more easy?
  (Mr Boylan) Yes. I would want to place credit where it is due. Following the policy statement announced in December the Regulatory Reform Order placed before Parliament linked to the CPO legislation will give us much greater flexibility in terms of renewal. The fundamental issue about CPO powers is the power for local authorities to use CPOs specifically to support regeneration.

  218. I was wondering if Rochdale had found the new tools initiative useful or could it be improved?
  (Mr Bailey) Both. It has been useful and the relationships we have developed with RSLs have been very useful.

  219. Can you say in what way they have helped you acquire and demolish?
  (Mr Bailey) That is one of the main aspects of the new tools. RSLs build up additional skills on the ground and they have been able to bring more rehousing as well as help speed up the acquisition process. The difference in Rochdale and Manchester is that the properties we have been acquiring for demolition have been occupied through owner occupiers rather than us dealing with empty properties and RSLs provide additional rehousing which has been one of the main benefits.

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