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'Hanging in the balance': What future for Yorkshire and the Humber?

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'Hanging in the balance': What future for Yorkshire and the Humber?

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Published by Nneka Opara for TCPA in Local Government and also in Central Government, Communities, Environment, Housing

This Friday, 15th February 2013, will see a high level seminar of politicians, businesses, academics, local authorities, NGOs and those concerned with regeneration meeting in the celebrated Millennium Gallery in Sheffield to discuss the future of the Yorkshire and Humber region. This thought-provoking and forward looking event, Alternative futures: A pathway to a fair and low carbon economy in Yorkshire and the Humber’, is being held by leading housing and planning charity, the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA)and the University of Sheffield Department of Town and Regional Planning

As a nation, we are facing the urgent challenges of extreme weather and climate change and as well as a housing crisis. With many areas of low-lying land the Yorkshire and Humber region is more vulnerable than most, with increasing levels of flooding as well as having one of the most defenceless stretches of coastline to sea-level rise. According to research in 2012, just 363 new affordable homes are being built on average each year in rural parts of the Yorkshire and Humberside while 21,419 families need social housing. There is also an affordability crisis - an average home in rural parts of Yorkshire and Humberside costs £201,638 – more than 10.2 times the average income.

While the scale of the challenge is stark, this seminar will seek to set out the positive and constructive solutions that are being taken forward in the region. Two and a half years after the general election, this event will provide an occasion to take stock of the Coalition Government’s policy changes – including regeneration funding and the radical reforms to planning, housing and benefit provision – and explore how communities, local government, universities and businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber can get the best outcome.

Delegates will hear from a wide range of expert speakers, including Clive Betts, local Member of Parliament for Sheffield South East and Chair of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee as well as John Mothersole, Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council and Prof Sir Keith Burnett, Vice Chancellor of The University of Sheffield.

Speaking in advance of the seminar on Friday, TCPA Chief Executive Kate Henderson said:

“The recent TCPA report, ‘The Lie of the Land!’ throws into sharp focus the scale of the economic, social and environmental challenges that we face as a nation, but also the unequal nature of our responses across the country. Yet too often successive governments have been, and continue to be, blind to the spatial impacts of their policies.”

“We must recognise the economic potential of England beyond the south-east as we strive to emerge from the current economic downturn. We need a more balanced Britain and we need to make the argument that the Yorkshire and the Humber, with its good quality of life, modern transport links and willing workforce, can play its part. There is also a unique opportunity to harness the renewable energy capacity in the region to deliver green growth.”

“As an Association, we will continue to make the case for a national spatial approach that enables a joined up approach to infrastructure decisions, investment security and informs local decision-making to ensure England works to its full potential.”

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