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11/01/2016

Cameron promises to transform 100 housing estates

Words: Laura Edgar

Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to transform 100 housing estates in Britain, with a £140 million fund to start the work.

Writing in The Sunday Times, Cameron said some housing estates are “entrenching poverty in Britain” and isolating families and communities, despite “behind front doors” families building “warm and welcoming homes”.

“Step outside in the worst estates, and you’re confronted by concrete slabs dropped from on high, brutal high-rise towers and dark alleyways that are a gift to criminals and drug dealers. The police often talk about the importance of designing out crime, but these estates actually designed it in,” said Cameron.

He highlighted that lessons need to be learnt from “failed attempts” to regenerate in the past, with “pointless planning rules, local politics and tenants’ concerns” about whether regeneration would be done fairly preventing progress.

He added that there wasn’t the political will in government to cut through this.

To address these “sink estates”, Cameron said a new advisory panel would be set up, which will be chaired by Lord Heseltine.

Its first job would be to create a list of post-war estates across the country that are “ripe for redevelopment”, working with up to 100,000 residents to put together plans for regeneration.

The panel would also establish “binding guarantees” for tenants and homeowners to protect them.

The plans would be financed through a new £140 million fund that would, said, Cameron, “pump-prime the planning process, temporary re-housing and early construction costs”.

An Estates Regeneration Strategy would “sweep away” planning blockages and reduce “political and reputational risk for projects’ key decision-makers and investors".

Cameron concluded that the “mission” is nothing short of a “social turnaround”.

Communities secretary Greg Clark said the worst estates offer “huge potential” to be revived so that communities can be “thriving” places that people want to live and work in.

“That’s why we’re so determined to kick-start work which will benefit the lives of thousands of people by providing high-quality homes.”

The full article can be read here on the UK Government website.

Reaction to the pledge can be found here.

Image credit | iStock

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