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The Housing Market Renewal (HMR) pathfinder programme was announced by the Government in April 2003 as part of the Sustainable Communities Plan. The TCPA welcomes the Government’s resolve to improve housing and environmental standards in the Midlands and North as part of the national Sustainable Communities Plan. It is right to link the growth agenda in the South with efforts to tackle low demand in the North. The policy is right in terms of equity in that widespread housing abandonment, dereliction, and the collapse of local housing markets have had serious consequences for many northern communities. This policy is also an important part of a wider effort to secure a more even spread of economic activity and prosperity across the whole country.
The TCPA has been deeply involved in urban policy debates at each major thrust of Government activity, including those providing the roots of the current urban renaissance programme: the Home Office’s Inner Area Studies of the 1970s; the urban development corporations of the 1980s; the various forms of ‘strategic partnerships’, EU-funded programmes, urban regeneration companies and the work of the Urban Task Force in the 1990s; and the revival of the urban development corporation mechanism for some of the South East ‘growth areas’ and the initiatives designed to tackle areas of market failure in northern cities in the Sustainable Communities programme, announced in February 2003, Sustainable Communities: Building for the Future.