‘Complex and cumbersome’ approach hampering regeneration in Wales

Regeneration in Wales is being hampered by a ‘complex and cumbersome’ approach and short-term funding systems, according to a new report.

The report, compiled by the Auditor General for Wales Jeremy Colman states that, while all 22 local authorities in Wales are actively engaged in regeneration, there is a need for greater co-ordination, clarity and access to resources. 

According to Mr Colman, many councils are experiencing difficulty in making the partnership approach to regeneration work.

He branded the current approach as complex and cumbersome, with too many partnership arrangements, funding streams and regimes arising from Welsh Assembly Government initiatives. Outcomes are not being monitored, making it impossible to evaluate the success of previous initiatives and funding is generally short-term, which hinders longer-term planning.

“Wales’ unique history has resulted in many areas needing regeneration. The world’s first industrial nation, it experienced rapid growth in the nineteenth century, followed by considerable decline in the next. Affordable housing, transport infrastructure and the future of rural communities are just some of the regeneration issues facing Wales today,” states the report.

With councils playing a key role in upgrading the social, physical and economic framework of Wales, the report makes a number of recommendations to promote improvement, including:

Local partnerships should be required to develop clear ten-year strategies as part of their community strategies, which should align with the Wales Spatial Plan.
The Welsh Assembly Government should exercise greater clarity and coordination in setting national and regional priorities, which will provide a framework for local regeneration.
The Welsh Assembly Government should also simplify its funding and monitoring systems and make them longer in term.

Auditor General Jeremy Colman said: “The approach must be simplified. Councils are leading partnerships that have a genuine commitment to reversing decline and transforming quality of life in Welsh communities and this commitment is shared and supported by the Assembly but there is an urgent need for better coordinated and simpler frameworks at national and local level.”