Memorandum by Barbara Follett MP (Stevenage
Constituency) (NT 28)
As the Member of Parliament for Stevenage, which
was designated a New Town in 1946, I would like to highlight the
Social housing and other facilities, such as
neighbourhood centres, public buildings, mains services installations,
sewers and paths, were all built at the same time. Therefore,
they are all deteriorating at the same rate and much of the infrastructure
is in need of replacement or urgent repair.
This fact has not been taken into account when
allocating funding to Stevenage Borough Council because the Standard
Spending Assessment does not reflect the unique pressures faced
by Stevenage and other New Towns.
The Government needs to invest capital funds
in the first generation New Towns immediately and review the way
our SSAs are calculated.
2. SOCIAL EXCLUSION
In its early years, Stevenage suffered a breakdown
of the extended family network, as new residents relocated from
London. Over the last two decades, this process has continued.
Stevenage ranks 49th out of 366 districts for lone parents and
has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the Eastern
Region. Educational attainment at GCSE level is also low compared
to the national and county average. All these factors have contributed
to social exclusion in the town.
More resources are needed for neighbourhood
renewal projects, so that programmes can be set up to benefit
the whole town, not just individual wards.
3. ENGLISH PARTNERSHIPS
Part of English Partnerships' remit is to ensure
the sustainable economic regeneration and development of New Towns.
However, it has also had to act in the interests of the Treasury
by disposing of its assets at the best price, leaving New Towns
stripped of their assets. The disposal policy has also led to
multiple ownership, making redevelopment extremely difficult for
I believe that the Government should disengage
English Partnerships from New Towns and transfer the property
assets to the relevant local authority, preferably free of obligations,
or with a clawback arrangement by the Treasury on disposal.
During the transfer process, a major proportion
of the income from sales of English Partnership's assets should
be reinvested in New Town regeneration.