Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by Advantage West Midlands (ERF 16(f))

  Thank you for your letter of 22 May 2002 requesting a summary of Advantage West Midlands' response concerning the need for a housing gap funding scheme and our views on the role of housing in the Regional Economic Strategy. I apologise for missing your deadline of 6 June and I hope it is not too late for you to consider our submission.


  RDAs do not have any direct responsibility for housing, but we act as a facilitator role, for example to assemble land and then to reclaim and service it.

  The former Partnership Investment Programme (PIP) enabled the Agency to facilitate housing as part of mixed use developments. The replacement scheme has effectively curtailed this.

  Where housing is a component of a mixed scheme, it is not eligible for replacement PIP grant assistance. It is recognised that housing, in many cases, can be a key driver in a comprehensive approach to regeneration, particularly area-based initiatives.

  Advantage West Midlands has continued to support housing related activities under its legacy regeneration programmes eg SRB and more recently the holistic Camp Hill Urban Village Programme in Nuneaton, Warwickshire with The Prince's Foundation and County and Borough Councils.

  It is recognised that housing investment and provision underpins and supports economic growth and regeneration. A gap funding scheme under the proposed new European Regeneration Framework could promote the Government's urban renaissance agenda and support holistic regeneration provided that the new framework clarifies the State Aid issues and equips the Government, RDAs and other partners with sufficient flexibility to determine its programmes for economic and physical regeneration.

  Overall the proposal is welcomed and could assist new housing investment in areas of market failure in the West Midlands and enable better strategic integration of initiatives. Levering in private sector investment into areas of market failure would have the added benefit of maximising the impact from Public Sector Investment.


  Advantage West Midlands is working with the Regional Housing Partnership to develop a Regional Housing Strategy and its role in regenerating communities in the West Midlands. Whilst our focus is primarily economic, it is recognised that housing is a key component which underpins and supports economic growth, as stated above.

  Supporting other Agencies to provide investment into housing has resulted in the Housing Corporation aligning their Regional Investment Strategy with the Agency's Regeneration Zone Programme.

  The Agency supports urban regeneration projects which help to deliver housing on derelict land or through the reuse of vacant buildings.

  The Agency is a partner in the Housing Market Renewal Area pilot programmes in the West Midlands and will continue to support the development of the prospectus to ensure that the economic components necessary for the creation of sustainable communities will be integrated within the investment in housing and place.

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