Report finds European co-operation would ensure regeneration

The report also suggested that measures should be taken in securing an overhaul of current funding systems to ensure that the benefits of urban renewal are widely spread and properly felt by all.

Many urban centres in this country have undergone a remarkable regeneration over the course of the last decade. However many smaller outlying towns have not shared in this success.

Cllr Stephen Houghton, chair of the LGA's urban commission and SIGOMA, said:"In this country, to ensure that everyone feels the benefit of regeneration, we need to avoid following an American model. There is a danger that indistinct developments like out-of-town shopping malls and office parks may hollow out our town and city centres, making them less attractive to investors and turning them into no-go areas where crime persists."

"Instead we should look to the continent for inspiration. Here people take a pride in their town centres as places where they live, work and meet. Urban centres are seen as having a distinct role to play and a healthy public transport system provides strong links both within and between towns and


"It is the creation of these strong town centres, each with distinct

identities that will allow the smaller towns to compete alongside big cities and the benefits of large urban regeneration projects to be properly felt by all."

The report also recommended an overhaul of how regeneration projects are funded that would leave local agencies less reliant on handouts from the government, focusing on co-operation not competition.

Cllr Houghton added: "Unfortunately the current system of competitive bidding can set local agencies against each other and undermine joint working."

"Local authorities need to be provided with alternative ways to nurture their town and city centres, rather than relying on government grants that often run out after a specified period of time. The report proposes that the most important single step that could be taken would be to consider allowing a greater share of the surplus generated from rising property values to go to local government."