Keep regeneration planning local

Ben Derbyshire

Successful levelling up depends on giving communities a stake in managing change in their area

Boris Johnson has affected the persona of a ‘Brexity Hezza’. He has promised to ‘Build, Build, Build’ to achieve his manifesto promise to ‘level-up’ the fortunes of towns and cities across the north-south divide and repair the social, cultural and economic damage wrecked by the covid-19 pandemic.

In the 1980s, when riots tore through the nation’s inner-city areas, Lord Scarman was appointed by Margaret Thatcher to investigate the reasons behind the unrest. Scarman’s 1981 report noted the importance that "people are encouraged to secure a stake in, feel a pride in, and have a sense of responsibility for their own area". The Scarman report pointed to community redevelopment and planning as the main area of concern. Thatcher appointed Michael Heseltine as her minister for inner cities with responsibility for policies and programmes to address the issue.

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