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09Aug91 UK: ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY CALLS ON COUNCILS TO COMPETE FOR 60% OF FUNDING AFTER CITY CHALLENGE RESPONSE.

By Mark Court and Mark SmulianEnvironment Secretary Michael Heseltine is forcing councils to compete against each other for further handouts from the public purse following his delight with the outcome of City Challenge, the competition for urban regeneration money.Already Mr Heseltine has announced that next year local authorities must fight it out for up to 60 per cent of the cash available for the repair of council houses.Mr Heseltine claims that competition will both improve the fabric of rundown estates and counteract 'inadequate and unacceptable local authority management.'The Department of the Environment says other initiatives involving competitive bidding for urban regeneration money will follow.Next year's City Challenge will be open to all 57 of the councils covered by the urban programme. And the DoE says: 'This year's losers will be in a good position for winning next year.'The sum of £410 million is available during the next five years for this year's 11 winners.The winning councils must now work up their proposals for submission to ministers early in the new year.But councils are not happy about competing against each other and are suspicious of the criteria used to evaluate their schemes.A source at one of the winning councils said: 'The idea of completing against other local authorities rather than a Government standard is distasteful.'City Challenge relies on the involvement of the private sector so contractors can cash in on potentially lucrative partnerships with councils.Amec Regeneration is already teamed up with Manchester but in other cities, such as Bradford, contractors can make an offer.The winning proposals include:Bradford: Regeneration of Holmewood Estate along with training initiatives, job creation and environmental improvements.Dearne Valley: Construction of industrial and commercial property and houses along with infrastructure improvements to provide 4,000 jobs.Lewisham: A bid of £42 million over five years to transform Deptford. Plans include new housing, environmental improvements and the provision of business space.Liverpool: Housing and social facilities will be improved and commercial opportunities created by exploiting the architectural and cultural heritage.Manchester: Redevelopment of Hulme to create homes and jobs. Demolition of deck access blocks will release 52 ha of land for new houses, retail and business developments.Middlesbrough: A bid of £127 million over five years to regenerate the eastern part of the town. Initiatives aim to transform housing and social facilities.Newcastle: Housing regeneration will be matched by economic development and improvement to infrastructure.Nottingham: Construction of industrial developments along with improved housing in a derelict part of the city centre.Tower Hamlets: Housing and environmental improvements along with leisure and social facilities to regenerate Bethnal Green.Wirral: Improvements to housing and infrastructure and the attraction of inward investment to create jobs and a better environment.Wolverhampton: Plans to build a technology park and to provide leisure facilities, training and jobs along with housing improvements.