Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Memoranda


Memorandum by Catalyst Corby (NT 09)

1.  NEW TOWN DESIGN

  Parallel decline of areas subject to poor architectural design and construction techniques is unsustainable and expensive.

  This is exacerbated by the anti social activity encouraged by the Radburn multiple walkway design and lack of defensible space.

  Intense "inner city" type areas of deprivation and decline are created. This in turn creates an unwelcome image, population decline and a fall in investment and Local Authority revenue budgets.

  The wide open green spaces, though welcome environmentally and socially, are also very expensive to maintain.

2.  CAR DEPENDENCE

  The combination of low density New Town layout and bus deregulation produces a poor and reducing public transport choice. This is encouraging a modal shift to the car.

3.  SOCIAL EXCLUSION

  The problems outlined above and the reduction in revenues and investment will lead to further social exclusion. However, the awarding of Urban Regeneration Company (URC) status will solve the problems providing that support funding for Masterplan projects is forthcoming from Government.

4.  ORGANISATIONS AND REGULATIONS

  English Partnerships' role in Corby has diminished along with its land holdings. It should, however, be prepared to increase its contributions to the URC effort.

  The National Planning System is a shambles and puts a severe brake on remedial measures because of the dependence on the Regional Planning Guidance—Structure Plan—District Local Plan cascade. The Green Paper offers hope but a complete solution would be found by investing planning powers in the URCs as with Urban Development Corporations in the past. This would give the URC more power and certainty of achievement and since it would be fully consulted upon, would be "owned" by the people of the New Town.

5.  THE ROLE OF THE PUBLIC SECTOR IN PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE REGENERATION IN NEW TOWNS

  Public sector support is invaluable. However, when this is accompanied by heavy bureaucracy, its beneficial support is nullified and private sector involvement and investment discouraged.

6.  NEW TOWNS IN REGIONAL ECONOMIES

  Unlike ordinary towns and settlements which evolve slowly over decades, New Towns are dynamic areas which can be "Engines of Growth" in the Region. They are used to development and welcome change. As such they should be at the forefront; exemplars of regeneration. With an enabling role such as URC status, the "engine" can become an "FI" vehicle for social, housing and commercial growth.

7.  SHOULD GOVERNMENT POLICY CHANGE?

  Yes—New Towns should be re-invigorated, funded from top-slicing of the now positive financial returns from the sale of New Town assets and encouraged to lead regional regeneration.


 
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Prepared 16 April 2002