Neighbourhood Renewal/ Regeneration

Select a Neighbourhood renewal/regeneration initiative in Hull and demonstrate how this fits with both national and local policy and identify key concepts and principles underpinning your selected initiative. Show how you would evaluate the success of this initiative in terms of neighbourhood renewal/regeneration. I feel it is important to start this essay by defining the term Neighbourhood renewal/regeneration and by identifying the purpose of neighbourhood renewal initiatives in Britain today.

This essay will focus on the key concepts and principles of an initiative in the Hull area and will demonstrate how the initiative fits in with national and local policy. The aims, objectives and desired outcomes of the selected initiative will be taken into account when evaluating the successfulness of the initiative in terms of neighbourhood renewal/regeneration. The term ‘neighbourhood renewal/regeneration’ relates to a range of programmes established to identify local needs and pilot new ways to tackle poverty and deprivation in the most effected areas of the United Kingdom.

Local area based initiatives have been a common approach to tackling the problems of deprived neighbourhoods in Britain since the 1960’s. The majority of programmes were short term and focussed on single issues until the late 1980’s when an integrated approach was attempted (Imrie and Raco, 2003). By the late 1990’s the number of initiatives had increased rapidly, as a result ‘the governance of neighbourhood regeneration came to be characterised by a kaleidoscope of interlinked and spatially overlapping partnerships’ (Imrie and Raco, 2003: 85).

The Government’s neighbourhood renewal strategy launched by the Labour Party in January 2001 had a new approach to reversing the spiral of decline in the poorest parts of the country. Tony Blair referred to the purpose of The Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy in his vision of a nation: where no-one is seriously disadvantaged by where they live, where power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few. This action plan is a crucial step in creating one nation, not separated by class, race or where people live the purpose of the strategy was ‘to narrow the gap between outcomes in deprived areas and the rest’ (SEU, 2001:1)

The short term, neighbourhood level projects had been replaced with a more strategic approach. The central level of the new strategic, ‘multi-level’ approach is to be led by Local Strategic Partnerships: the local authority, ‘multi-agency partnerships of public service providers’, private sector organisations and community representatives (Imrie and Raco, 2003: 86). The Local Strategic Partnerships will be responsible for neighbourhood renewal at Local Authority scale rather that at neighbourhood level and will devise a strategy to identify and prioritise problem neighbourhoods and develop solutions (Imrie and Raco, 2003).

The launch of the strategy in 2001 was concerned with shortening the gap between the most deprived areas and the national average, in particular the areas in receipt of funding from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund. Through various initiatives, Neighbourhood Renewal aims to ensure that no one should be disadvantaged because of where they live (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber).

At the centre of all Neighbourhood Renewal Initiatives are two measurable goals: The first is to secure better health, educational attainment, housing, lower crime and worklessness, a better physical environment and liveability, with measurable progress which is compared to set targets The second is to reduce the gap between the poorest and the national average (Government Office for Yorkshire and The Humber). The neighbourhood renewal strategy is overseen by The Neighbourhood Renewal Unit (NRU), which is part of Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

The NRU works with government offices and neighbourhood renewal teams to support local strategic partnerships in the most deprived districts in England (www. neighbourhood. gov. uk/page. asp? id=3). The Neighbourhood Renewal Fund was set up for the period 2001/2 to 2005/6, with the value of i?? 1,875 billion. The fund provides additional financial resources to the most deprived local authority districts, enhances government department’s main spending programmes and gets neighbourhood renewal initiatives started (www. neighbourhood. gov. uk/page. asp? id=3).

The NRU recognises that the right level of funding is central to tackling problems of deprived neighbourhoods. Therefore, a number of programmes have been developed to ensure that investment is allocated efficiently. The Neighbourhood Renewal Programmes are referred to as the: Neighbourhood Management Pathfinders, this involves working with local agencies to improve and link their services at a local neighbourhood level. Neighbourhood Wardens Team, this is a service which provides a highly visible, uniformed, semi-official presence in residential and public areas, town centres and high crime areas.

New Deal for Communities (NDC) , this is when partnerships tackle the five key themes which are poor job prospects, high levels of crime, educational underachievement, poor health and problems with housing or the physical environment (www. neighbourhood. gov. uk/page. asp? id=3). Neighbourhood Renewal funding is allocated to a local authority district which is found to be in the top fifty of the most disadvantaged nationally against any of the ‘six district level summaries of the Indices of Deprivation 2004’ (www. eighbourhood. gov. uk/page. asp? id=612).

There are more than eighty local authorities eligible to receive Neighbourhood Renewal Funding, Kingston Upon Hull City Council is one them. In its 700 year history the city of Kingston Upon Hull has faced prosperity and poverty. Hull served as market town, military fortress, trading hub, fishing and whaling centre, and industrial giant. The city suffered severe damage during the Second World War and has also faced a period of post-industrial decline.

Hull has recently embarked on a huge programme of regeneration and renewal. Different parts of Hull face different issues and therefore the city is split into areas which are made up of wards. Although each area has different issues and priorities, Neighbourhood Management is being piloted in eight areas within the city (Hull City Council: Neighbourhood Management 2007). Neighbourhood Management is a Neighbourhood Renewal Initiative that supports the Government’s intention to involve local people in the decision making process with regards to local services.

Neighbourhood Management is the partnership between the local authority, residents and organisations, working together to improve services. (Hull City Council: Neighbourhood Management 2007). An example of a Neighbourhood Management area within Hull is the Ings Estate area which is one of three wards located in the east of the city. The Ings Estate is undergoing massive redevelopment through the Housing Market Renewal Pathfinder programme (Gateway). Gateway is building new energy efficient homes for rent, sale or shared ownership to replace the substandard council owned ‘Caspon’ style housing.

Along with other neighbourhood management initiatives to tackle issues such as anti social behaviour and crime, this is an attempt to improve the area and create sustainable communities as part of the National Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy (www. gatewaypathfinder. net/template01asp? pageid=87). The Gateway neighbourhood management initiatives are an attempt to make the Ings area a safer and better place to live. The ‘Caspon’ houses have been found to be ‘structurally problematic’ and independent surveys have revealed that it would be costly to bring the properties up to the British Home Standard.

The layout of the estate was found to be a contributor to increasing levels of crime and anti social behaviour. The properties were poorly positioned within a maze of footpaths linking the whole estate, this made it a notorious haven for crime and vandalism (www. gatewaypathfinder. net/template01asp? pageid=87). A mixture of new housing is being developed in four phases to replace the original council houses of the 1960’s, which are known as ‘Caspons’. This is being delivered by Chevin Housing Association, Gateway and Hull City Council.

The residents of Ings Estate have been, and continue to be involved with the redevelopment plans for the area through Gateway’s Ings Area Partnership Board. Through consultation events and drop in programmes, residents have been consulted at each stage of planning (www. gatewaypathfinder. net/template01asp? pageid=87). The East Hull Regeneration Team was developed to support the community through change and as a point of contact to support residents through the whole regeneration process including relocating, decanting and compensation (www. gatewaypathfinder. net/template01asp? pageid=87).

As well as supporting the community through the regeneration process, neighbourhood management is concerned with keeping the area a sustainable community which is a safer and better place to live. This is to be done by ensuring that services are delivered at a local level in a response to local needs.

Neighbourhood management works with local services such as the police, fire service, community wardens and residents to deliver local services. This way of working enables local people to have a say in the decision making processes with regards to the services in their area. This links into the national policy in the respect that no one should be disadvantaged because of where they live. By recognising that local residents know their community best, means that issues in a specific area can be dealt with effectively through the input of local people.

With regards to the measuring the success of the neighbourhood management initiative one must firstly identify individual aims of a neighbourhood management area. For example two key issues identified in the Ings neighbourhood were a decline in population and low demand for properties which had led to a number of social problems. The decline in population is an outcome of having hard to let housing, which in time leads to an increasing number of boarded up empty properties affecting the appearance and reputation of the estate. Empty properties became vandalised and arson became a serious problem.

Anti social behaviour increased and people continued to leave the area. The ‘Caspon’ area was identified as the source of the problem with poorly designed housing which was also badly positioned. Therefore, the Ings area in particular the ‘Caspon’ area was to undergo major redevelopment. The neighbourhood programmes in the Ings area are ongoing but success can be measured by identifying levels of crime and anti social behaviour prior to and during the neighbourhood management pilot. One particular area of concern was arson with empty properties maliciously being set on fire.

It has been identified by Neighbourhood Management Team in the Ings area that arson has greatly reduced as a result of the intervention of neighbourhood management. The neighbourhood manager described how by working with other local services, utilities in void properties were quickly disconnected and the properties were quickly boarded up in a safe and secure manner. The neighbourhood manager also described that by doing other small tasks like removing wooden fencing, disposing of garden rubbish and recycling wheelie bins had helped to reduce arson in the area.

This can be confirmed through liaising with the local fire service and by using annual statistics to compare the fire services emergency call out figures prior to and during the neighbourhood management pilot. Neighbourhood management is an ongoing process which fits in with key principles of the national neighbourhood renewal strategy and with local policy. Hull is one of the 88 areas in the country receiving funding from the NRF to narrow the gap nationally, between the most deprived areas and the rest of the country. Hull’s Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) is known as One Hull.

One Hull implements a Local Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy which identifies how key objectives will be met at a neighbourhood level. One Hull aims to improve the quality of life for local people by bringing together at a local level the public, private and community and voluntary sectors. One Hull define the ‘2020 Vision For Hull’ in the following way: Hull is a City which is living, learning, working, healthy and proud. One of the most important cities in Northern Europe, we are a gateway for global trade and the heart of a prosperous Humber sub-region’ http://www. onehull. co. uk/

In conclusion One Hull demonstrates how local policy for neighbourhood renewal forms part of the overall national policy for neighbourhood renewal. It is understood that through NRF the 88 most deprived areas of the United Kingdom will be regenerated. Through the support of local partnerships and resident involvement, local services will improve and the communities will become sustainable areas that people want to live in. To summarise if neighbourhood management is to be a success, local authority members and staff need to be aware of how valuable contribution from members of the community is.

Purdue and colleagues argue that central and local government should identify and attempt to reduce the bureaucratic demands partnership working has on community leaders (Purdue et al, 2000). Further studies undertaken by Purdue and colleagues draws attention to the fact that other renewal/regeneration partners do not always have a trusting relationship with community leaders, and in some cases have challenged the legitimacy of elected neighbourhood representatives (Purdue et al, 2000).

Research undertaken on behalf of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has examined the experiences of residents involved in neighbourhood renewal/regeneration projects. To summarise the research identified that neighbourhoods are of a diverse nature and that local interests may conflict, the results also highlighted that there is the danger that only the most powerful voices will be heard. (Burgess et al, 2001).