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Government warned of north-south divide on estate regeneration strategy 11/11/2016

In February this year, the then Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to regenerate so called "sink" estates to tackle deprivation and build new homes. Alongside this, funding of £140 million  was announced to support regeneration on 100 estates, with most of the costs of regeneration coming from the private sector. 


It is understood the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is due to publish Lord Heseltine's Estate Regeneration Strategy ahead of the Autumn Statement on 23rd November.


A new report Great Estates: Putting communities at the heart of regeneration, by independent Think-Tank ResPublica, launched this week, highlights where this strategy could fall short unless the Government changes its approach.


The report sets out how communities can be put at the heart of the Government's forthcoming Estate Regeneration Strategy - and what else needs to be done to ensure prosperity and opportunity is spread to all parts of the country. Crucially, it warns that there is a North-South divide in the current approach to funding regeneration that risks leaving behind hundreds of communities outside London and the South East.


In a study of 122 estates around the country, the report finds that on many deprived estates, housing demand is not sufficient to attract private investment, and that building new homes is not the answer to local needs in those places. Where new housing is needed, we find that communities must be empowered to shape the form of that development and benefit from it.

Key recommendations include: 


  • The Department for Communities and Local Government should produce best practice guidance as part of the Estate Regeneration Strategy, with a new Residents' Charter at its core - based on transparency, participation, community representation and resident advantages.
  • A "What Works Centre" on estate regeneration should be established to attract more social investment into estates and share best practice. This the Report argues could be funded by a newly created Estates Endowment Fund drawn from part of the £140 million currently available.
  • The government should explore partial VAT relief for refurbishment costs to support community-led regeneration.


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