The spectre of rows of abandoned and decayed terraced houses in Northern England so haunted former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott that he decided a “new approach” (ODPM 2003 p 26) was needed. Heavily inspired by a 2001 report Changing Housing Markets and Urban Regeneration in the M62 Corridor, the government was soon throwing millions (and later billions) at nine areas it had designated as “the most deprived in the country” (ODPM 2003 p 24) in what it called a Housing Market Renewal (HMR) Pathfinders scheme. At the outset, there was no specific budget and “no blueprint” (ODPM 2003 p 24). The idea was to somehow change the housing market in deprived areas by tearing down old houses and replacing them with “modern sustainable accommodation” (ODPM 2003 p 24).
The essay will look at the East Central Rochdale (ECR) scheme (referred to in some documents as Wardleworth/Hamer), one of the four initial projects proposed by the Partners in Action (PIA) Oldham Rochdale HMR Pathfinder. After Prescott picked PIA as an area that should be funded,. the incentive was clearly to apply for as much as possible, and as quickly as possible.
“The council is promoting this because there’s money to be had from central government,” said Robert McCraken QC, respresnting residents of Derker, another PIA scheme (Minton 2009 p 86).
To read the full essay click here