The chief executive of a #54 million scheme to transform one of Birmingham's poorest inner city areas has warned against rushing to spend the money.
Andrew Butterfield, who heads Aston Pride New Deal for Communities, defended the organisation's expenditure of only #5 million over three years.
Some of the money has been used to fund preparatory work, paying consultants to discover ways in which local people want to see Aston improved.
Regeneration Minister Tony McNulty last month set Aston Pride a 100-day deadline to improve its performance and get a community-led management board up and running, or risk having funding taken away by the Government.
Mr Butterfield told the city council's cabinet that Birmingham was not alone in attracting criticism from the Minister. New Deal for Communities projects in other cities were also making slower than expected progress, he said.
He said: "It takes time to bring a focus on local issues and develop relationships.
"What we have to do is take a measured and considered response to what local people want. They require a structure which truly engages young people in taking Aston forward.
"We are talking about transforming a neighbourhood which has suffered for many years from deprivation. It will take two or three years to get a true vision in place."
Coun Stewart Stacey (Lab Kings Norton) said: "These things take time to get going. You haven't necessarily got people in the community who have the skills and responsibility to get involved without support. They are quite happy to do so when help is given."
Reassurances about Aston Pride's progress came as work began on a #1.8 million scheme to transform a community building.
Aston councillor Muhammad Afzal performed a ground-breaking ceremony yesterday at Ronnie's Roller Rink, a former cinema built in the early 1900s.
The building is to be turned into the Aston Pride Centre offering health, welfare and job training support to families in the area.
The building's facade is considered to be of architectural interest and is a well-known local landmark on Witton Road.
Owners Aston Villa Football Club offered the site for a new centre as part of its ongoing commitment to the local community and the regeneration of the surrounding area.
Services on offer will include a Sure Start programme providing support in speech and language development, child development, health advice, and educational development for the under-fives.