Posted on January 1st, 2015 in News
When the dust settles later this year on the new world of housing, it will settle on a world in which social housing was pretty much supposed to be sorted – largely brought up to Decent Homes and the Scottish and Welsh Housing Quality Standards – or got rid of, through comprehensive physical, social and economic regeneration programmes, washed along by the raft of public money that has been available for these programmes. It should be difficult for gritty urban street dramas to find those grim areas that they love as backdrops.
In reality, of course the film-makers need not worry. The country will still be littered by struggling estates and neighbourhoods with regeneration plans going nowhere and employment and income levels on them falling even further as the cuts bite. What they will need is joined-up area based, community-led, economic, social and physical regeneration plans. Yes, we know this is easier said than done, but that is still how you turn round failing areas and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
Is anyone going to pick up this ball? Obviously councils have the strategic responsibilities, and must step up to the plate, despite their reduced resources and thinly stretched skills and capacity. But let’s look to the social landlords as well to step up.(By which we mean housing associations of course, but also ALMOs and council housing services). They have resources and they are supposed to have the skills. The best already do excellent work in this field. And often they have most of the homes in the areas we are talking about. Especially these responsibilities sit squarely on the shoulders of stock transfers – this is surely what many of them were set up for, once the initial investment promises have been met? There are at least 180 associations in Britain that can reasonably be described as wholly or largely transfer associations. For many of these, the time has come to show what they can really do!
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