Calls for change as regeneration funding falls short

Shake up of the way funding is provided for regeneration projects is needed urgently as government's £140m loan fund announced earlier this year will fail to meet what's needed to get schemes off the ground, according to a new report from the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).

The £140 million loan fund announced by the Prime Minister earlier this year will not be sufficient to deliver the scale of change desired by government, says the report, which has been produced with the Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association and the Centre for Regional Economic Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University. 

There also needs to be more flexibility around funding, the report says - loan funding can play a useful role in getting schemes off the ground, but in many areas grant funding will also be required. Loan funding alone will not be enough to support schemes in parts of the country where housing and land costs are insufficient to attract investment. 

CIH chief executive Terrie Alafat said: "We welcome the government’s renewed focus on kick-starting more regeneration activity - something housing professionals in our sector are committed to and passionate about. Our research shows that housing-led regeneration provides a good return on investment and can both increase overall housing supply and improve the lives of local people. 

"The evidence also shows that some grant funding will be needed to get schemes off the ground. It is vital that schemes are developed in the right way, in partnership with local communities to ensure that regeneration schemes have the support of local people."

Professor Peter Wells from Sheffield Hallam University's CRESR, added: “Our findings demonstrate that local context is very important to the success of housing-led regeneration. These case studies provide clear evidence of areas where regeneration is necessary because private provision alone is not sufficient to enable housing development. This regeneration should be focused on the needs and aspirations of existing residents.”

Steve Stride, Poplar HARCA chief executive, said: "This report has been developed by a wide range of housing professionals, drawing information from successful case studies across the UK. Its findings highlight the economic return housing-led regeneration can bring and evidences how with the right flexibility on funding, our sector is uniquely positioned to attract investment. We have got the expertise and skillset to deliver on regeneration and we want the government to hear this.

"We will be promoting the report to government and in particular the members of Lord Michael Heseltine's newly established regeneration panel."