Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Memoranda

Memorandum by Clive Dutton, Director of Regeneration, Gallagher Estates Limited (GRI 30)


  I welcome the opportunity to give evidence to the Urban Affairs Sub-Committee of the House of Commons Select Committee on ODPM Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Inquiry into the Effectiveness of Government Regeneration Initiatives.


  My experience in urban regeneration involves senior management positions with a variety of organisations involved in area based inner-city urban regeneration.

  This includes senior roles with an Urban Development Corporation, a City Challenge partnership and a deprived multi-cultural inner urban Metropolitan Borough Council.

  In addition, I have undertaken national roles including secondment to DTLR in 2000 to work on the Urban White Paper.

  I am currently Director of Regeneration for Gallagher Estates, which is a private company promoting and delivering major development projects, including substantial new and extended communities across the UK.


  I have worked in inner urban regeneration for over 15 years and believe passionately that appropriate and sustained area based regeneration can bring substantial long-lasting benefits to urban communities where the quality of life is most degraded.

  In my view the potential for still greater regeneration potency is significant, with major lessons to be learnt from practical experience across the country.

  The following suggestions are drawn from first-hand experience.


    —  Sufficient and appropriate transformational geographic targeting to provide a critical mass impact that is visible to all.

    —  A defined priority regeneration area which relates to need and opportunity, irrespective of local authority administrative boundaries.

    —  Tailor-made solutions to the circumstances of a particular area with flexibility to respond to opportunity.

    —  Effective and ambitious political and executive leadership at the local level.

    —  The presence of a fit-for-purpose independent delivery vehicle focused on implementation.

    —  Local Government officials who are liberated from bureaucratic distraction to focus on co-ordinated implementation across their organisation, with a "can do" culture in the best interests of the regeneration efforts.

    —  Engagement of appropriate private sector investment and development involvement from the outset.

    —  Commercial acumen upon the part of the public sector participants.

    —  Streamlined public sector resources and intervention on a quantum scale, proportionate to the scale of the challenge, in lieu of a myriad of short term, small scale, reactive Government led initiatives.

    —  A clear commitment from local authorities with other partners to sustain time limited area-based initiatives to maintain momentum and build further on achievements. Successful regeneration is an on-going process, not delivered in short, sharp bursts and then allowed to wither on the vine. Appropriate area-based management arrangements are important in this respect.

    —  Full engagement of an empowered community with some degree of devolution of responsibilities based on clarity of purpose, and trust.

  I would further suggest to the Urban Affairs Sub-Committee that key requirements include:

    —  Area-based initiatives being set in the context of a long-term vision for a wider area or sub-region looking twenty to thirty years hence.

    —  Concentration on larger critical mass area-based initiatives that are in the national and regional, as well as local interests.

    —  Government being a stakeholder through a "compact" with regional and local organisations to achieve effective transformation.

  With regard to further opportunities to deploy this approach it would appear that the Housing Market Renewal Fund currently provides great potential in this regard.

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Prepared 28 October 2002