Heseltine to address regeneration conference

Lord Heseltine, chairman of the approval panel for the Regional Growth Fund, will headline an event in November organised jointly by the Town & Country Planning Association and University of Liverpool.

Northern Futures? Responses to the Coalition Government's policies and their impact on the North will take place at the University of Liverpool on Thursday 10 November.

The conference is intended as a forum for taking stock of the Government's proposed policy changes including regeneration funding and reforms to planning, housing and benefit provision, as well as exploring how communities, local government, universities and businesses in northern England can get the best outcome.

Other speakers on the day will include Dr Hugh Ellis, chief planner, TCPA; Prof Alan Harding, director in the School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester; Stephen Nicol, managing director, Regeneris Consulting; Prof Karel Williams, Manchester Business School.

The event literature says: "The conference will build on the growing set of analysis around the interaction between housing regeneration and planning reforms and the potentially significant consequences for the future of England. Regional planning structures are being removed and the delivery of housing and investment is now focused on a model of financial incentives, such as the New Homes Bonus. The Treasury's 'Plan for Growth' illustrates a major change in Government investment and regeneration policy to focus on areas of high market demand, rather than those of lower demand with potentially greater social needs.

"There is a growing commentary about the impacts of these changes not only on those specific places where regeneration funding has been cut, but on the wider impact of mechanisms like the New Homes Bonus in redistributing rate support grant from northern metropolitan areas to southern areas of higher growth. Such outcomes have reignited interest in spatial inequalities and in whether, over the last 30 years, public investment patterns have mediated or exacerbated regional disparities. As well as establishing the current political, policy and economic factors shaping the country's future, the conference will also seek to create constructive recommendations about how England can reach its full potential, recognising that a prosperous London and South East requires a prosperous nation."

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