8,000 social homes lost in a decade

12 February 2015

Estate regeneration schemes are leading to more homes being built – but there is an overall decline in those available for social rent[1].

The report ‘Knock It Down or Do It Up?’[2], from the London Assembly’s Housing Committee, looks at how to improve the process of regenerating housing estates – including the decision of councils or housing associations to either renovate or demolish the estate.

The report is designed to provide a guide for community groups, councillors and housing professionals to some of the best ways to work together to regenerate estates. The tips include:

Putting energy into early and comprehensive engagement with residents, as well as the physical build and finances

Holding an independent ballot on any final decision to demolish an estate

Creating a steering group of residents and securing the enthusiasm of community leaders and influencers.

The report also makes recommendations to central government and the Mayor, including:

Reviewing the level of the Mayor’s affordable housing grant

HM Treasury allowing councils to borrow against existing homes to reinvest in building new homes

Central government reducing the VAT disparity between refurbishment (20% VAT) and new build (0% rated).

Darren Johnson AM, Chair of the Housing Committee, said:

“Market homes play an important role in unlocking investment to plough into creating decent social homes, but the extent of the housing crisis means we need homes for all income groups, not just the well-heeled.

What’s also clear is that the most popular regeneration schemes are those where councils and housing associations genuinely engage existing residents in decisions, rather than taking important decisions about people’s family homes from behind closed doors.

We also heard of some examples where providers have gone the extra mile to work with their communities on regeneration schemes, and I hope councils, housing associations and residents will be able to use the report to build a two-way dialogue.”


Notes for Editors:

1. The report analyses major schemes in the capital over the last ten years. Overall, these have created more homes – but a smaller proportion of these are for social rent:

Tenure Existing Proposed

Social rent 30,431 22,135

Affordable rent 46 1,832

Intermediate 550 7,471

Market 3,186 36,163

Total 34, 213 67, 601

The above table shows the number of units given planning permission anytime between 2004 and 2014. ‘Major schemes’ is defined as estate regeneration schemes where there were 15 or more existing units including at least 10 affordable. The London Assembly obtained this data from the GLA’s London Development Database.

2. Read ‘Knock It Down or Do It Up?’ (below). Transcripts from the relevant meetings, as well as all the evidence submitted to the Committee, can be accessed on the report publication page here.

3. Darren Johnson AM, Chair of the Housing Committee, is available for interview – see contact details below.

4. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Ash Singleton on 020 7983 5769. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.