Walker gets blanket powers
The Urban Regeneration Agency, headed by Peter Walker, the former Conservative Cabinet minister, will be able to make compulsory purchase orders and override local planning constraints. It will also take over several large grants and schemes for rundown areas.
Ministers will not change the pounds 750m City Challenge, the Department of the Environment scheme which recently rejected an application for pounds 37.5m from Bristol's riot-torn Hartcliffe estate. But they will launch the agency as part of a new economic and social policy for inner cities.
With developers reluctant to build offices in the South, a house-building programme is likely to be at the heart of Mr Walker's plans. The agency, which will not be fully operational until the end of 1993, will aim to reclaim derelict land and act as a developer in partnership with business and local councils.
Mr Walker will also focus on training. Ministers are determined to learn the lessons of London's Docklands, where local people felt excluded from economic opportunities.
Mr Walker's budget will include City Grants and Derelict Land Grants, worth more than pounds 100m, as well as English Estates, a property arm of the Department of Trade and Industry which provides factory space for inward investors. English Estates is selling off a stream of properties, bringing in many millions which could be invested.
However the agency's total budget will be determined in public-spending negotiations and will not be announced this week.
Much of the agency's work will be carried out by regional offices of the DoE, rather than London- based officials.
Mr Walker's immediate task is to assess how the property market crash has affected prospects of redevelopment. Office developments are likely to be concentrated in the North where property prices have been more resilient.
There are also likely to be new partnerships with retailers, some of whom are anxious to switch their attention from out-of-town developments to inner-city sites.
Michael Heseltine, now President of the Board of Trade, announced the creation of the agency in the run-up to the election, when he was Secretary of State for the Environment.
Publication of the agency's remit will end months of wrangling in Whitehall over the extent of its authority, with some ministers said to have resisted the granting of compulsory purchase powers.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...