Letter: Local inspiration will make our inner cities bloom

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your article ' pounds 10bn wasted on failed inner-city policy' (17 June) will come as no surprise to those who live and work in urban areas, particularly to community organisations. While this money was being risked, the Urban Programme was cut. More than pounds 50m of that modest programme was spent by voluntary and community groups. There are thousands of small regeneration projects in urban areas that have shown great value for money and of which communities are proud.

The British Association of Settlements and Social Action Centres represents the interests of 1,000 projects in these areas, and for the past two years it has argued consistently that massive physical regeneration projects that do not have social and economic regeneration programmes will and do fail. We have also argued that any scheme that tries to regenerate local communities without consulting and harnessing the energies of the people who live in those communities is bound to fail.

Let us hope some of the lessons of the research you report will be built into the mechanisms of the new Single Regeneration Budget so that local communities get the long-term, consistent and integrated policies and programmes they need.

Yours sincerely,

JOHN MATTHEWS

The Urban Community Network

London, SW9

17 June

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