Housing funding cuts in East Lancashire 'premature'

Cutting funds for housing projects in East Lancashire is "untimely and premature," according to a report.

The Audit Commission made the comments in a report about the housing market renewal schemes, including Regenerate Pennine Lancashire in Pendle.

Government funding was cut last year leaving many schemes incomplete.

Mike Bromley, leader of Conservative-run Pendle Borough Council, said: "It can't just be left and forgotten. It's unacceptable."

The programme of demolishing, doing-up or building new homes was supposed to run until 2018.

'Particularly vulnerable'

The government finance watchdog said there were still gaps between the poorest and more affluent areas.

It said that independent analysis found the area would be particularly vulnerable to public sector cuts and that leaving the scheme unfinished could mean people would be put off from living there.

Mr Bromley said: "We've got a programme here that has been stopped in it's tracks and there's unfinished business.

"We are clearly between a rock and a hard place. Government has understandably removed funding because of the problems that it's got with national finances.

"But we've got our problems here. We've got incomplete schemes, outstanding CPOs [Compulsory Purchase Orders] that we can't action and blighted sites.

He said all local authority leaders were pushing to get more government funding for the scheme.

"As local politicians we cannot allow that to happen without fighting our corner as hard as we can," he said.

He added: "We just need a further amount of funding just to allow us to finish some of these schemes off. That is the number one priority."

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