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Survey: Regional Development Agencies unloved

Less than one in 20 property professionals believe Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) should be kept in their present form

According to independent research by the College of Estate Management, 38 per cent of those surveyed called for a review of the function of agencies which are facing major cut backs under the new coalition government.

Only 4 per cent argued that the nine RDAs, which were set up in 1999 with a brief to foster economic growth, inward investment and regeneration, should be retained in their existing form, while 12 per cent called for all the agencies to be abolished.

However, transferring the RDAs’ responsibilities down to the local level was not universally supported. As one respondent said: ‘RDAs are able to force reticent councils into allowing large scale planning applications to move forward and are able to assess these applications from a regional perspective rather than just a local perspective, the only way that these types of schemes can be addressed’.

The results come as business secretary Vince Cable hinted that only the RDAs in the north were likely to remain as the government looks to slash at least £270 million from agency budgets.

Speaking last week Cable admitted ‘the functions of RDAs will change and the emphasis of future resources will be rebalanced’ with funding being funnelled towards the ‘most problems – the North-East, North-West, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the West Midlands’.

The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) is among those most at risk from the chop.

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