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Research backs controversial Pathfinder demolition scheme

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New research into the Government's controversial Pathfinder housing-renewal initiative has come out in favour of the widespread 'demolition and clearance' programme.

The study, commissioned by social research charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said the flattening of homes in the nine targeted areas across the Midlands and northern England was an 'important element' of the scheme and was likely to increase in the future.

However, the report said the government needed to reaffirm its support for the 'aims and mechanisms of housing-market renewal' and demonstrate its continuing commitment to the programme.

One of the key areas in which the researchers from Sheffield Hallam University found Pathfinder chiefs wanting was in the lack of financial support for residents whose houses were due to be bulldozed.

According to the report, which was unveiled at the Regeneration and Renewal Low Demand Housing Conference yesterday (20 September), some homeowners could face a cash shortfall of £35,000 between the compensation they receive and the cost of buying a new home.

The study said: 'The process of valuing properties designated for clearance is the source of considerable concern and resentment amongst affected households.

'The Pathfinders need to reassure residents that they will receive a fair market price for their property.'

The full report can be seen at www.jrf.org.uk

by Richard Waite

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