Headlines: January 18th, 1999

The DETR has published a summary of views gathered so far by the Urban Task Force.The task force has been set the task by the Government of identifying causes of urban decline in England and recommending practical solutions.

It began its project by asking interested sections of the public sector for answers to questions like: why is there a problem in English towns and cities, what sort of places do people want to live in and how to achieve well-designed, sustainable urban communities?

Among the answers so far have come ‘poor schooling, poor environment, lack of social and cultural facilities and a lack of choice and quality in housing’ from Clive Dutton at Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

Another view, from Chris Marks at Bristol City Council, is that ‘the problem is not a wholesale abandonment of urban areas, but rather a gradual but relentless erosion of the population base which has persisted over a long period.’

These are among over 300 detailed responses, from local authorities, housing developers, national, regional and community organisations and numerous interested individuals.

It is expected to present its final report in the summer. For more details on what’s emerged so far, see the DETR’s website: www.detr.gov.uk.