79. A number of schemes have been developed to offer
people the opportunity to move across the country from areas where
housing need is high to places where large numbers of houses are
standing empty. The number of people benefiting from such moves
so far has been small-the Housing Corporation's supplementary
memorandum showed that the number of people who moved through
such schemes last year was in the hundreds.
For such schemes to be successful people need to be persuaded
of the benefits of moving to another part of the country and one
barrier to this is that some people do not want to move far away
from their families.
Newcastle City Council has tried to overcome this by the offer
of the chance to "bring the entire family up with you."
Where individuals have moved, schemes have been of benefit. A
survey of former Haringey residents who have moved to other parts
of the country found that 90 per cent of movers had no regrets
following their move and the remaining 10 per cent do not have
plans to return.
Furthermore, the opportunity of mobility gives housing choice
to people living in areas, such as London and the South East,
who would otherwise have none.
80. The DTLR is currently funding twenty-seven Choice
Based Lettings pilot schemes, designed to try out new ways to
give social housing tenants greater choice over their accommodation.
The pilot schemes all include proposals to improve the information
about vacancies provided to tenants and three of them aim to provide
information about vacancies in low demand areas to people in London.
The vacancies in the low demand areas are used to provide wider
housing choice to the London residents, for example, applicants
facing a long wait for accommodation can be housed immediately
in another part of the country. Like other schemes which have
been developed to date, such as the LAWN
three Choice Based Lettings pilots have generally been promoted
by local authorities in London and the South East, where housing
need is high and there is a desire to offer tenants greater choice.
The low levels of take up to date suggest that more could be done
by authorities in the low demand areas to market their housing
stock and wider facilities to potential residents as a positive
alternative choice and that a targeted marketing approach which
highlights services on offer to meet the need of particular groups
of people, might be effective. This might include elderly people
for whom moving house is not dependent on the labour market and
who might be attracted by good quality care or specially adapted
housing in the receiving areas. The business plan for LAWN includes
proposals to work with Age Concern and others to develop a targeted
scheme for elderly people.
More generally mobility schemes need to ensure that adequate funding
and support packages are available in the "receiving"
recommend that the DTLR and the Housing Corporation examine ways
to enhance the promotion of inter-regional mobility, potentially
through an extension of the choice based lettings scheme, with
a particular focus on how "receiving" authorities can
provide incentives to move.
Movement within conurbations
81. We saw in Burnley and Rochdale, neighbourhoods
within the town where demand was much higher than for similar
houses in nearby streets. Harvest Housing Group's memorandum described
how demand has been sustained by a high concentration of black
and minority ethnic residents and in Rochdale demand continues
to grow as a result of support from extended families and a sense
of security within the community. Demand is growing despite over-crowding
and poor quality accommodation.
A similar situation is found in Birmingham but the City Council
is concerned that new generations of black and ethnic minority
communities will not want to continue to live in the poor quality
housing in the inner urban areas. As they become increasingly
affluent, younger, economically affluent households are moving
out of Birmingham to suburban towns.
82. In Rochdale, the Council has tried to encourage
groups of families to move from over-crowded areas into parts
of the town where demand has been falling. We saw an estate where,
with high levels of police and community support, a group of families
had been successfully moved and a recent development, where a
proportion of the homes had been built by a Bangladeshi housing
co-operative and included several homes with six or seven bedrooms.
It was clear that a good deal of effort had been made to ensure
that the moves across town were sustainable and perceived in a
positive spirit by all communities, which was very topical as
our visit to the North West came shortly after the riots in Burnley,
Oldham and Bradford in the summer of 2001. The Community Cohesion
the riots concluded that the racial segregation in housing had
led to a lack of understanding between the communities. The summary
of the report began:
"Whilst the physical segregation of housing
estates and inner city areas came as no surprise, the team was
particularly struck by the depth of polarisation of our towns
Mobility between local housing markets within a conurbation
offers a way to both bring new demand to unpopular areas and to
reduce racial segregation, if it is done in a planned and targeted
way. We recommend that local housing strategies follow Rochdale's
good example to promote moves between expanding and declining
communities. The DTLR, through Government Offices for the Regions,
should monitor the strategies to ensure that this is happening,
especially where such moves can reduce racial segregation. Significant
investment in community relations, policing and other services,
is needed alongside such housing initiatives.
175 A declining demographic group Back
Op cit, paragraph 1.4 Back
DETR Housing Research Summary, Low Demand and Unpopular Neighbourhoods,
No. 114, 2000, Page 5 Back
Q 20 Back
Q 510 Back
Q 511 Back
Q 19 Back
Neighbour Nuisance, Social Landlords and the Law, Hunter, Nixon
and Sahyer, 2001 Back
Q 495 Back
HL Deb, 5 February 2002, col 514 Back
Paragraph 42 Back
See Qq 547-58 Back
Housing Corporation, Q 555 Back
Housing Corporation, Q 555 Back
Business Plan for the Development of the LAWN inter-regional mobility
Formerly London Authorities West and North but now expanded to
cover the whole of London and referred to as "LAWN" Back
Described in EMP51 Back
Business Plan for the Development of LAWN Inter-regional Mobility
Project, 2001 Back
Note of visit to Tower Hamlets Back
Q 77 Back
Note of visit to the North West Back
Community Cohesion: A Report of the Independent Review
Team, Chaired by Ted Cantle, Home Office, 2001 Back
Op cit, paragraph 2.1 Back