PM commits £140m to pump prime housing estates regeneration
In a showpiece political initiative, prime minister David Cameron has announced an ambition to re-build or overhaul 100 of England’s most run-down housing estates.
He has allocated £140m to fund a new estate regeneration advisory panel, chaired by 82-year-old Lord Heseltine, the former deputy prime minister.
Mr Cameron said that the advisory panel’s first job was “to build a list of post-war estates across the country that are ripe for re-development, and work with up to 100,000 residents to put together regeneration plans.”
He said: “For some, this will simply mean knocking them down and starting again. For others, it might mean changes to layout, upgrading facilities and improving local road and transport links. The panel will also establish a set of binding guarantees for tenants and homeowners so that they are protected.
“To finance this, we’ll establish a new £140m fund that will pump-prime the planning process, temporary rehousing and early construction costs. And we’ll publish an estates regeneration strategy that will sweep away the planning blockages and take new steps to reduce political and reputational risk for projects’ key decision-makers and investors.”
Mr Cameron said that the initiative was driven partly by social engineering aspirations and partly to help ease the way for other new house-building. He said: “For decades, sink estates – and frankly, sometimes the people who lived in them – had been seen as something simply to be managed. It’s time to be more ambitious at every level. The mission here is nothing short of social turnaround, and with massive estate regeneration, tenants protected, and land unlocked for new housing all over Britain, I believe we can tear down anything that stands in our way.”
The prime minister’s announcement comes ahead of a report from property advisor Savills that suggests improving the worst estates could help catalyse the building of hundreds of thousands of new homes in London alone.
Savills research director Yolande Barnes said: “What the Savills research shows is that housing estates can deliver more homes and be made into better neighbourhoods by re-integrating them into the wider street network and creating or repairing the streetscape.
“This creates more highly valued neighbourhoods. The signs are that new developments of ‘complete streets’ cost less to build than conventional estate renewal.”
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This article was published on 11 Jan 2016 (last updated on 11 Jan 2016).