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Editorial – Getting connected

New Year 2015 marks a moment of continuity and change in Welsh housing and this issue of WHQ reflects both.

Digital inclusion promises to become even more important this year as housing associations and local authorities respond to continuing welfare reform. Our special feature looks at what they’re doing to help tenants get connected but also beyond that to what rapidly changing technology means for the future of communities.

Communities and tackling poverty minister Lesley Griffiths talks about her politics and her priorities in an interview. She tells WHQ that housing provides many of the links between the different elements of her wider brief. As well as communities and tackling poverty and housing and regeneration, she’s also responsible for children and inequalities.

Elsewhere in this issue, David Palmer looks at progress so far on the development of co-operative housing as an alternative for reluctant renters while at Paul Diggory explains North Wales Housing’s plans to bring Rhyl into the European mainstream by working with a community land trust.

Meanwhile Roisin Wilmott sums up the key features of the Planning Bill and what it will mean for housing and regeneration while David Waite looks at the implications of the Cardiff Metro project for South East Wales.

The new minister started her new job just before the last issue of WHQ went to press. Shortly after that, Stuart Ropke started work as the new chief executive of Community Housing Cymru. He reflects on the differences between housing in Wales and England and on the challenges ahead in what is an election year for the UK as a whole.

It’s all change too at CIH Cymru, where a new director will soon be appointed to lead the organisation. Before he stepped down in December, Keith Edwards found time to consider what the past can tell us about a future. For a sneak preview of the next generation of CIH Cymru members, see pitches from the three people shortlisted for Rising Stars Cymru 2015.

Looking even further into the past, Stephen Kay draws on his new book to look at the neglected history of attempts to provide decent homes for Welsh workers in the wake of the industrial revolution.

All that, plus much more from our regular contributors, make this an appropriately wide-ranging first WHQ of 2015. With the Renting Homes Bill, TAI 2015 and a UK general election all to come in the next few months, things won’t stand still for long.

Jules Birch, editor, WHQ 


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