The Prime Minister has declared that England’s most run down and forgotten housing estates will be demolished and replaced with homes that are less dangerous and more appealing to live in. Mr Cameron says that a £140 million fund will be available to councils and housing associations for the plan to be taken into action.
Confirming the policy’s introduction, Mr Cameron commented that he believes that this reformation of housing estates will end the ‘decades of neglect’ and encourage social reform. He went on to say:
“Many of these housing estates were built just after the war, the people living in them often feel that they are unable to build a better life for themselves – they feel trapped in poverty.
“I think the demolition of the worst housing estates in England is well overdue. The people of England need to be living a life where they feel that they can have a bright future ahead of them.”
Undoubtedly, some strong family units still exist within these estates – though many have now left to seek a better home. For those who remain, the cramped nature of the estates’ layouts, the prevalence of dark alleyways and the high levels of unemployment characterise these areas and foster violence and crime.
The Government believes that the poor design of these estates greatly contributes to gang life, crime and anti-social behaviour. The regeneration of these areas therefore seeks to reverse these trends by providing an open, pleasant environment in which to live.
Greg Clark, our Secretary of State, has said:
“We want to revive these estates; we want these houses to be somewhere that people would choose to live, a thriving community, a place where the children living there have a bright future to look forward to.
“The government is enthusiastic about kick-starting this scheme as soon as possible, as we believe that it will improve the lives of thousands of people.”
The Estate Regeneration Advisory Panel will be the driving force behind the scheme, with Lord Heseltine as the chairman. Heseltine, a former Deputy Prime Minister, has also previously fought for the renovation of inner cities in Britain.
The property agent and advisory firm, Savills, have completed and published research into this area in January 2016. Their findings lay out two key methods of estate regeneration:
- Contemporary Regeneration (blocks and towers in a similar layout, but higher density)
- Complete Streets (reintegrating the streets into the surrounding urban fabric)
They indicate that, had the Complete Streets design principles been applied in the first instance, an additional 480,000 households could have been housed on the same local authority land.
With regards to the future, Savills estimate that 1,750 hectares of London’s 8,500 hectares of LA Housing Estate land might be capable of this type of regeneration, with the potential to provide somewhere between 190,000 – 500,000 homes on Complete Streets. This represents an increase over the number of existing homes of between 54,000 and 360,000.
The potential is there not just to regenerate these areas for the current residents to enjoy, but to build them again with holistic and sustainable modern design techniques – achieving greater numbers of social homes for the benefit of many thousands more households.
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