In February 2003 the then Deputy Prime Minister launched the £22bn plan. It set out a long-term programme of action for both urban and rural areas in all the English regions. Its aim is to ensure a better balance between housing availability and the demand for affordable homes in areas such as the South East, low demand for housing in others, and ways to improve the quality of our public spaces.
The plan includes:
a significant increase in resources
major reforms of housing and planning regimes
a new approach to what we build and how we do it
It aims to co-ordinate the efforts of the Government and local stakeholders in bringing about sustainable communities that meet the economic, social and environmental needs not only of today but of future generations as well.
All Government Offices held regional Ministerial launches for the plan and followed them up with regional seminars. Since then, the Government Office network has been responsible for implementing regional ‘Sustainable Communities Plans’ and setting up Regional Housing Boards. Government Offices have also worked with stakeholders to ensure better housing and improvements in planning procedures.
Government Offices have other tasks that directly impact on the Sustainable Communities agenda, including:
working alongside the Government’s Neighbourhood Renewal Unit in tackling social exclusion
working with the voluntary and community sector to deliver Neighbourhood Renewal programmes
contributing to the development of policies to ensure they reflect regional and local issues, as well assessing how policies should be delivered in each region