London Assembly paper – Knock it Down or Do it Up

KnockItDownOrDoItUp_0

Recently, February 2015, the London Assembly Housing Committee produced a document titled ‘Knock it Down or Do it Up? : The challenge of estate regeneration’. To give you an idea of what is in the document, the following has been taken from the Foreword on page 4.

“In the past decade, few areas of housing policy have been as controversial as estate regeneration.Fifty estates with over 30,000 homes have undergone regeneration schemes in the past decade. While the total number of homes on those estates has now almost doubled, there has been a net loss of some 8,000 social rented homes.The costs and benefits of each individual scheme have been contested. One of the most divisive questions is whether to demolish or refurbish the existing homes. The trade-offs associated with demolishing council homes to build a greater quantity of more expensive homes are seen by some as realism, and others as social cleansing.

Opponents of estate demolition and rebuild schemes were prominent in the recent March for Homes. They argue that homes are unnecessarily demolished with a large loss in social housing, sometimes moving working class tenants to other parts of London or the UK and replacing their homes with large quantities of private market housing. Some feel this is a deliberate policy.

On the other hand, the Mayor and housing providers argue that the homes are often in a bad state of repair, and that refurbishment would either be too expensive or impractical. Their plans to regenerate estates have seen a significant increase in overall numbers of homes, and they point to improvements in the living conditions of remaining tenants.

During the course of this investigation we heard from all sides of the debate. We visited estate regeneration schemes, quizzed councils and other housing providers about their schemes, and heard first hand from people affected by past schemes or worried about future plans.

One thing was very clear: that there needs to be far greater transparency and clarity about the purpose of proposed regeneration, and the justification for the options chosen.

We also found that there could be better collaboration between landlords and residents in exploring and evaluating the options.

In this report, we set out an account of the problems that can arise when regenerating estates, and best practice principles for boroughs and other housing providers, councillors and residents’ groups to inform their decision-making processes and operations”.

There is a lot of information in this document though a few comments which may be of interest are highlighted below. What do you think of these comments?

Page Number Comment
13 Have a look at Chart 1 and the comment – “Over the last ten years, planning permissions have been granted for nearly twice as many new homes on the sites of London’s demolished social housing estates as were there before.”
14 “It is often noted that a process of ‘gentrification’ may, over time, accompany regeneration, the new homes being occupied by households more affluent than previous residents, thus altering the make-up of the local community”.
16 “In order to ensure, then, that the local community does benefit from the proposals, it is important to bring people along from the start, a principle emphasised by Russell Profitt (Head of the Peckham Partnership at the time of the regeneration of Peckham’s Five Estates)”
18 “For regeneration proposals, this means, for example, that wellbeing and social impacts of schemes (such as the detriment to residents’ physical and mental health over the often lengthy duration of regeneration schemes) are unlikely to be effectively evaluated and their significance may be under-estimated”
19 “What is Social Return on Investment (SROI)?SROI is a framework which measures and accounts for a broader concept of value than the purely financial. It encompasses social, environmental and economic costs and benefits”.
21 “Real engagement only occurs when residents understand the detail of what a scheme means for them. To ensure this happens, it is important to communicate in a way that is simple to understand”.

To read the full document, click on the following link – https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/KnockItDownOrDoItUp_0.pdf

Contact

Email us at – roeregeneration@yahoo.com – and let us know of any concerns/thoughts you may have or add a comment at the end of the blog entry in the ‘Leave a Reply’ section.

Or email your Roehampton and Putney Heath Councillors at;

Peter Carpenter – pcarpenter@wandsworth.gov.uk

Jeremy Ambache – JAmbache@wandsworth.gov.uk

Sue McKinney – SMcKinney@wandsworth.gov.uk

Or email the Wandsworth Council team managing the ‘regeneration’

Team Roehampton – Roehampton@wandsworth.gov.uk

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