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Local authorities lack skills to carry out regeneration policy

LOCAL AUTHORITIES lack the skills to deliver urban regeneration policies, claimed Lord Rogers, commen-ting on the Government's Urban White Paper this week.

UK towns and cities have been in decline for three decades, leaving local authorities with little experience of delivering comprehensive urban renewal, he said.

Rogers was speaking after the Government published its White Paper Our towns and cities: the future, setting out its urban regeneration policies.

Rogers led the taskforce responsible for last year's report Towards an urban renaissance identifying problems in urban centres and making recommendations for improvement (NCE 1 July 1999).

The Government is hoping it will pave the way for accelerated development of rundown city centres.

But local authorities are unprepared for the anticipated upswing in regeneration projects, Rogers claimed.

'You cannot achieve urban regeneration without proper diagnosis of the problems facing you or adequate briefing of your designers. Planners, engineers and architects aren't at the moment being given proper briefings, ' he said.

Local authorities also lack experience of assembling land through compulsory purchase orders, and attracting and managing private sector finance, he added Rogers urged the Government to provide extra cash so councils can buy in necessary private sector skills.

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