On Wednesday 12 December the Cabinet Regeneration Sub Committee agreed to launch a three month ‘Big Conversation’ on the 7 Regeneration estates. The aim will be to produce an Engagement Framework that will guide all future community engagement on the Regeneration estates.
The driver for change is that the level of community engagement needs to be enhanced. The whole community needs to be engaged with; not just the tenants, leaseholders, home owners and private tenants who may be directly affected by any proposals to regenerate an estate. Regeneration has to be more than housing renewal. It has to tackle low skills, unemployment, transport, health and leisure problems. It has to galvanise communities by enhancing school standards and creating greater support for older residents.
The original work undertaken by YourMK was seen by communities, Residents Associations and by councillors as poor and divisive.
Cllr Nigel Long, Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration said,“The Big Conversation aims to put communities in charge of future regeneration schemes and will allow an Engagement Framework to be developed based on listening to and engaging with the 10,000 people who live on the regeneration estates. It will also reflect the expectations set out in the national Tenant and Empowerment Standard.”
To make the Big Conversation effective, the Council will pay for an Independent Advisor to be appointed. That organisation will be recruited in partnership with the Resident Associations in the 7 Regeneration areas.
Cllr Long added, “We want the Big Conversation to reach out to residents who do not normally engage so that they feel able to take part in discussions about their community. We want everyone’s voice to be heard.”
Cllr Long continued, “The Big Conversation will also engage with local stakeholders including schools, businesses, local councillors, churches, Parish and Town Councils. We want to make regeneration inclusive and built on the whole community’s needs and decisions.
Cllr Long concluded “The Big Conversation will lay the basis for the long term roll out of regeneration. It is about putting communities in the driving seat.”