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

Memorandum by Royal Town Planning Institute (ERF 26)


  1.  The Government's support for regeneration, in particular now by English Partnerships (EP) and the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) through the Partnership Investment Programme (PIP) has been considerably successful in kick starting regeneration. The financial support from the Government has resulted in high levels of private investment and substantial environmental benefits. However, the system has not been perfect and perhaps more could have been done to secure a financial return from the government's investment as well as ensuring beneficial community returns.

  2.  The current EC state aid constraints have had two effects:

    —  a slowdown and delay in activity; and

    —  a substantial increase in the calls on UK government cash because of the need for public direct development to replace PIP.

  3.  The Institute is not aware of evidence that suggested that requiring Official Journal procedures for consultant and private sector partner selection has resulted in any increase in non-UK engagement.

  4.  The Institute considers that it is essential that public sector accountability is sustained, but this should not be at the expense of flexibility in addressing the various and complex needs for public investment in regeneration. The new RDA budgets are a move in the right direction but the results of this have yet to be seen.


  5.  The sub-committee has indicated that it will wish to examine the following:

    —  the effectiveness, usage and coverage of the five new, EU approved, land and property regeneration schemes—Direct Development, the Speculative and Non-speculative Gap Funding Schemes, Community Regeneration and Environmental Regeneration;

    —  any barriers to regeneration caused by the current framework;

    —  the consequences for the urban renaissance in terms of outputs, outcomes and value for money; and

    —  the need for a new European Regeneration Framework.

  6.  The identified schemes are welcomed but require more funding than is currently available. To ensure a thorough understanding of the situation the Committee should also consider other regeneration programmes, for example those dealing specifically with community and employment.

  7.  A facility which substantially speeds up the Official Journal process is essential.

  8.  A new European Framework should be more flexible, speedier and reflect a financial return for public investment, ie a true partnership, sharing risk and allowing for reinvestment of public overage as commercial returns are secured.


  9.  The Committee has a separate inquiry into the Planning Green Paper (to which the Institute will be submitting evidence). The reform of the planning system should have an impact on regeneration, which the Committee may wish to consider.

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