Headlines: February 2nd, 2009

Long-term leadership and commitment are key to keeping the wheels of regeneration turning and ensuring the sector is ready for the economic upturn whenever it comes, according to a study of the effect of the recession on regeneration.

The report from Professor Michael Parkinson, from the European Institute for Urban Affairs at Liverpool John Moores University, says the impact of the credit crunch on regeneration is serious but with the right sort of long term leadership and resources it can come through the downturn. Professor Parkinson is clear that regeneration is a long term affair and it must continue to have that outlook.

He was asked by Local Government Minister, John Healey, to assess the impact of the recession on the commercial property sector, the housing market and regeneration. His report, “The Credit Crunch and Regeneration: Impact and Implications” found that the crisis was affecting the financial model that had underpinned regeneration in recent years and that pressure on the sector was likely to increase. The impact, though, has been mixed and many projects that are already underway, particularly those with public sector involvement are continuing.

Professor Parkinson said the system would not recover quickly and all those involved – the private sector, councils, regional agencies and central Government – had a part to play in getting through the present situation and preparing for the upturn. His analysis also points to the need for more financial innovation, more genuine partnerships and more quality schemes. Public resources and programmes, he found, were keeping regeneration going as much as the private sector and that contribution would be even more crucial in the coming months.