Carl Sargeant, Minister for Housing and Regeneration
Today I am publishing guidance for applicants to access targeted regeneration investment available to support our regeneration framework, “Vibrant and Viable Places”.
Vibrant and Viable Places encompasses a range of integrated activities that aim to reverse economic, social and physical decline. Our aim is to achieve lasting improvement, in areas where market forces will not be sufficient to achieve this without some support from government.
The funding available through Viable and Vibrant Places will be directed towards town centres, coastal communities and Communities First clusters. The challenge I am issuing today is to think of new ways to regenerate these three key areas. Creativity and innovation will be essential as will aligning with other public sector programmes including health centres, hospitals and libraries. I also want our regeneration investment to facilitate and support our investment in housing. There also needs to be an important contribution from the private sector and from voluntary groups. My limited investment will be targeted at the most coherent and integrated town centre schemes that make best use of the wide array of possible funding sources. Our regeneration funding needs to act as a catalyst for wider action.
The exact number of town centres, coastal settlements or Communities First clusters that I can support will depend on proposals received. However it is essential that all partners respond to this with purpose and understand that we will only invest where we believe can have maximum impact.
My Homes and Places portfolio contributes to all of our Programme for Government objectives. As a Cabinet, we acknowledge that successful regeneration depends upon the alignment of mainstream programmes across portfolios. However, we also recognise the potential for targeted regeneration programmes to deliver against the broad range of Programme for Government outcomes.
The guidance published today sets out how partners should apply, and how the budget will be allocated. The investment available will include the previously separate funding stream for Housing Renewal Area schemes once existing commitments have been fulfilled. The funding is additional and complementary to other mainstream budgets. It may not be used to substitute for other investment streams.
Although I will not take decisions on the allocation of funding until an assessment of all bids received has been undertaken, I expect this funding to be targeted to a small number of areas.
The guidance document can be found online.