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LONDON-Regeneration minister Lord Falconer has launched a root-and-branch review of the role of English Partnerships, the UK Government’s regeneration agency. English Partnerships is one of the country’s biggest landowners, with properties ranging from new Towns build surrounding London after the second world war to redundant coal mines in the North of England.

The first stage of the review – to be completed by the end of 2001 – will examine the fundamental role of English Partnerships. If it decides that the organisation should continue with a new remit, a second-stage review – to be completed by Easter 2002 – will deal with the structure, location, and key skills it will need to deliver this new remit.

Lord Falconer announced his decision in a written parliamentary answer. He said the terms of the inquiry – to be headed by Genie Turton, Director of Housing, Urban Policy and Planning in the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions – would be: ‘To review the role of English Partnerships in delivering the Government’s policies; to consider the future ownership of Commission for New Towns assets and liabilities, and recommend such changes as might be necessary in the light of the review. To consider English Partnership’s structure and processes to ensure effective and efficient delivery of its remit.’

Paula Hay-Plumb, English Partnerships’ Chief Executive, welcomed the move as a logical step in the light of the Government’s new emphasis on urban issues following the June 2001 election. She said: ‘We believe this is the most appropriate time for a Review to take place and that its findings will reflect the value of the work we do in creating quality environments for communities across England.’

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