On the face of it, today’s levelling up announcement is a huge opportunity for under-represented parts of the country. Plans to achieve greater economic and social mobility across a wide range of areas – from education to 5G provision – are ambitious and there is a role for the property sector in bringing forward meaningful change.
More focus on healthcare, wellbeing and safety must surely benefit marginalised towns and cities. Better housing too is a priority – from better standards for renters to a smoother planning process that helps to deliver greater numbers of high-quality homes and communities where they’re needed most.
The challenge – of course – will be around delivery.
Devolution on such a large scale needs to be unashamedly pro-growth. It needs funding to kick start local economic improvements and it needs time to translate into action.
MCAs/local authorities will need support as their responsibilities increase – not just capital and revenue funding but ensuring that teams have the right vision, leadership and skills.
It’s right to set long timescales, but these goals will take many decades to achieve and it will take time for the benefits to be seen on the ground. People need to see progress quickly and we need to maintain momentum once early excitement has dissipated.
Homes England, with its new brief, is a welcome evolution and they will be an important enabler for regeneration.