Just back from the Regeneration and Renewal National Summit in Islington. The day was titled “Regenerating in an era of Spending Restraint”, which I think everyone agreed represented rather a large understatement. Here are my reflections on the day:
1) We need to adjust our attitudes on regeneration – The new Government is absolutely clear that they won’t be taking the same approach as their predecessors – no more guidelines and prescriptive models to follow. As Michael Heseltine commented half way through the day – “stop asking, and get on with it”. In London, it seems Boris is doing just this.
2) London is the only place in England where “regionalism” isn’t a dirty word – Regional Government will continue in London, and will infact be bolstered. Bob Kerslake confirmed that the functions currently held by HCA London will be transferred to City Hall, and Simon Milton confirmed that while some of the targets in the London Plan may be subject to change, the core tenets of regional planning policy will remain.
3) The Government’s current housing plans lack clarity – Grant Shapps MP presented on the Coalition’s housing proposals, including scrapping targets and placing more discretion over housebuilding in local hands. Given the overwhelming demand for additional housing in the Greater South East, and the importance of this for national economic growth, more clarity is needed as to how we’re going to build the number of homes we need, in the places that we need them.
We’ll be releasing new details about our own Future of London Conference soon.