Headlines: May 13th, 2004

More urban regeneration companies are to be created to promote regeneration. They are designed to engage the private sector in a sustainable regeneration strategy, working within the context of a wider Strategic Regeneration Framework, which takes account of the problems and opportunities for the whole area. The companies are independent, established by the local council and Regional Development Agency, and they work alongside English Partnerships and other local stakeholders including employers, amenity groups and community representatives. They provide a new focus and a new boost for regeneration in urban areas across the country. They help to encourage private sector investment, create environmental improvements, enhance economic prosperity and breathe life back into areas that have been left to decline.The decision to allow further applications for Urban Regeneration Companies is the result of a recent policy stocktake, undertaken by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. The outcome of the stocktake takes the form of 14 recommendations following consultations with all existing URCs, Regional Development Agencies, local authorities and English Partnerships.

Margaret Fay, Chair of One NorthEast, the lead Regional Development Agency (RDA) for Regeneration issues, said: “The RDAs welcome the announcement that applications for Urban Regeneration Companies will continue to be accepted. This decision is testimony to the successes being achieved by the existing URCs in bringing together public and private sector expertise to deliver regeneration at a local level.”

The first three URCs to be created, Liverpool Vision, New East Manchester and Sheffield one, will be formally evaluated soon by the ODPM and English Partnerships. The outcome of this exercise will inform the development of urban policy.