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Local people 'should make regeneration decisions'

Mon 16 Jan 2012

Local people should have more of a say over regeneration proposals that affect their community, the housing minister has said.

According to Grant Shapps, a one-size-fits-all approach to regeneration has "little regard for the needs, circumstances and wishes" of people in certain areas.

As a result, he believes that communities should "take the lead" when it comes to making decisions, rather than return to a "top-down, centralised system".

Mr Shapps highlighted many of the steps that have been taken to improve procedures over the last year, such as the creation of Enterprise Zones, the Regional Growth Fund, the Localism Act and bespoke City Deals that give more freedom to major urban settlements.

The housing minister said these represent a "radically different" approach to the one that had been taken in the previous ten years.

He added it is now time for communities around the country to "set their own local priorities to drive their areas forward".

Roger Fitton, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood, commented: "Whilst many of these legislative changes have the capability of empowering local communities, that objective can only be achieved if communities engage in the processes provided."

This comes shortly after communities secretary Eric Pickles said the Localism Act should give local people "real power" over key decisions and stop them from being ignored by policymakers.

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