Examination of Witnesses (Questions 207
TUESDAY 6 NOVEMBER 2001
207. Can I ask you to introduce yourselves to
(Mr Bailey) Peter Bailey, urban renewal manager for
Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council.
(Mr Boylan) Eamonn Boylan, director, Manchester Housing.
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
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
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
(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.
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.
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.