The NHF has launched an investigation that will delve into what makes a ‘great place’ and how housing associations can play a key role in regenerating areas in economic decline
Over at least the next 18 months the programme will build tangible recommendations looking at how residents, government, local authorities, private companies and not for profit organisations can, together create, or rebuild, great places to live across the country.
The programme aims to address the fact that the housing crisis is playing out differently across the country.
In some areas, like parts of the North and Midlands enough housing stock exists but isn’t suitable. Often it’s in need of renovation, or located in areas of economic decline, lacking in transport links or with few jobs. The work will address this issue, and in the first instance focus on challenging urban areas in the Midlands and the North of England.
Ruth Davison, executive director of public impact, said: “Housing associations have rightly been focused on driving up housing delivery, but lots of houses don’t a great place make.
“There are loads of places that we own and manage already and towns that we’re invested in and we need to focus on those too. This is exactly what the Commission plans to do.
“The Commission will visit places from across the county with an enquiring, open mind. I’m from Hartlepool and people might walk around the places that I love in that town and think that they are a bit crummy, truthfully, and ostensibly they might be. But they have value to me. And only people who live in communities understand the kind of value that’s there already, the assets that are there already – historical, cultural or whatever.”
The Commission is the first stage of the great place programme and will comprise of leaders across the sector with direct experience of regeneration in the region.
They will visit great and struggling places in each region across the Midlands and North, where they will engage with residents, mayors, councillors and academics amongst others. They will then use this insight to build an evidence-based understanding of what makes a place better, and in turn use this to develop tangible recommendations.
The Commission’s first visit will be to Liverpool on the 26th and 27th March.
The full list of Commission members includes:
- Sonia Thompson, board member, Tuntum Housing Association
- Ian Wardle, CEO, Thirteen Group
- Mark Henderson, CEO, Home Group – LSE research re gen good
- Angela Lockwood, CEO, Northstar
- Steve Coffey, CEO, Liverpool Mutual Homes
- David Walker, Bishop of Manchester and board member, WCHG
- Graham Burgess, chair, Torus Housing Group Common Purpose Board
- Dave Procter, chair, Together Housing
- Sinead Butters, CEO, Aspire Housing, chair PlaceShapers
- Kevin Rodgers, CEO, WM Housing Group
- Helen Lennon, CEO, Connect Housing
- Mary Parsons, group director, Placemaking and Regeneration, Places for People.