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LONDON-Developers and investors have used a government-sponsored workshop to call on ministers to move regeneration up the political agenda.

More than 90% of the attendants at a series of workshops around the country felt that urban renaissance needed to be one of the government’s main priorities. The workshops formed part of the government’s year long study into progress on regeneration since the publication of the Urban White paper two years ago.

Unveiling the findings at the annual Bristol Planning Law and Policy Conference, Gordon Hood, head of regeneration at King Sturge, said: “The private sector were generally upbeat about the way England’s towns and cities were regenerating themselves: almost two thirds of the participants felt that they were becoming more attractive as places to live and over 50% considered that they were becoming more attractive as places to invest within. However overwhelmingly they felt that much work needed to be done with only 18% believing that their community was living up to its potential.”

Developers and investors also highlighted a number of barriers putting them off regeneration. These included the slow and inefficient planning system, the reluctance of councils to use the Compulsory Purchase powers, the bureaucracy and delay in applying for grant assistance, delays in delivering infrastructure provision, a lack of understanding by the public sector of the property market, and the need for improved policing to encourage development in inner city areas.

Many also felt that inward investment was being held back by a lack of an available trained workforce and as a result development opportunities were being lost. The southeast was singled out. Development opportunities were being lost because rising house prices was making it unaffordable for a significant part of the workforce to live in the region.

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