Local regeneration must be at heart of national renewal, Localis study urges

Local regeneration must be at heart of national renewal, Localis study urges

The next government must give local leaders greater economic powers and financial control over regeneration to boost housebuilding prospects and underpin long-term local economic growth, a report from Localis, the independent think tank of place, has argued.

In a report published today – entitled “Design for life – the smart regeneration journey to 2030’’Localis sets out how best practice in regeneration has the potential to unlock place prosperity in the next parliament, as well as improving community health and climate change, but advises local leaders will need greater control over regeneration funds.

The study examined five main pillars crucial to attaining successful regeneration including place leadership, financial capacity, net zero and climate change, the role of the private and third sectors and the role of health and wellbeing.

According to Localis, successful regeneration in the next political cycle will require:

  • a return to regional spatial planning and establishment of regional planning offices to pool talent and resources to support local and sub-regional planning;
  • an end to the revenue/capital funding split in local authorities and in its place a single budget for local authorities alongside a separate regeneration account – akin to the HRA – to more efficiently allocate capital for regeneration;
  • ability to use regeneration as tool to leverage capital funds for retrofit and climate resilience measures to invest in local energy-proofing housing stock;
  • involvement of private and third sectors to boost capacity of community housing initiatives allowing for greater small-scale, community-led development within regeneration projects.
  • central government to work with the health service and local government chiefs to drive a strategy for community-driven healthcare in urban centres that can inform the development of local and subregional plans.

Localis chief executive, Jonathan Werran, said: “In the next political cycle, the vexing problem of improving the public realm in a situation of parlous public finances will keep regeneration of our towns and cities as an economic and political imperative.

“This report presents an analysis of local regeneration policy through the lens of five overarching strategic concerns, amounting to a best practice framework from which recommendations to local and central government can be drawn.

“The overarching question is, as we enter the end of one political cycle and await the start of a new one, what lessons, both broad and particular, should our placemakers be drawing from and putting into good practice from now until the end of the decade?

“In answering this question, it is important to understand both how pressing concerns for our councils undertaking regeneration projects can be addressed, and how the current position has been arrived at through recent decades of central government policy.”

Norse Group CEO, Justin Galliford, said: “As CEO of Norse Group, I am deeply committed to regeneration, viewing it not just as a policy or a strategy, but as a core principle that should lie at the heart of local government operations.

“At Norse Group, we believe that the effective management and transformation of local government asset portfolios are fundamental to shaping the future of our communities. Our mission aligns seamlessly with the goals of enhancing local economies, communities, and environments through smart, sustainable regeneration.

“This commitment is embedded in every project and service we undertake, ensuring that we not only meet but exceed the expectations of the communities we serve, demonstrating the substantial impact of regeneration on both a local and national scale.”

Report download: “Design for life – the smart regeneration journey to 2030”