UK’s Estate Regeneration National Strategy is welcome move
The latest guidance issued by the UK government’s Department for Communities & Local Government on “Estate Regeneration National Strategy” is timely and a welcome move, as it aims to address the housing crisis from the long-term perspective.
The government has understood the importance of systematic approach towards estate regeneration, as it has the potential of delivering thousands of homes to the people of the UK over the next one decade. In addition, estate regeneration provides new opportunities to residents in existing estates to actively participate in the planning process to create better quality homes and public spaces.
The National Strategy has focused in details various aspects – resident engagement and protection, the role of local authorities, finance and delivery, good practice guide, better social outcomes, alternative approaches, partner engagement, and funding aspects – to ensure that the new approach is successful.
By March 31, 2017, the Department for Communities & Local Government intends to complete several tasks, such as, working on a regional basis with the Home & Communities Agency to help local partners to accelerate their existing housing schemes. It will also help spread the cause of adopting good practices in housing delivery. Most importantly, it will assess bids and allocate enabling funding (2016 to 2017) and project finance.
The National Strategy is backed by sufficient funding, an essential component required to provide housing to all segments of society, including affordable housing and social housing. There will be £140 million of loan funding, £30 million of enabling grant and £2 million of capacity building funding made available to support estate regeneration.
This funding will be aimed at de-risking the early stages of regeneration schemes. It will also help in community engagement, improving the scope of proposals, better master planning and undertaking feasibility studies. The fund will also be deployed for preconstruction work and moving residents from existing estates to alternative accommodation before taking up demolition of the buildings.
The government is aware of the fact that estate regeneration can be challenging unless local partners are involved and residents are given opportunities in planning. Before evolving the strategy, the government has examined several examples of regeneration across the UK.
It is an accepted fact that one strategy will not work for estate regeneration across the country. In addition to working with the local partners and residents, there is a need for engaging the local authorities, especially the leaders. At the same time, the government has to work with the private housing sector, especially developer and property companies to tap into technology as well as real estate investments. Interestingly, this thought reflects in the National Strategy and it is a welcome sign.
Property companies like ours wholeheartedly support the National Strategy on Estate Regeneration, as it has identified the right issues and suggested appropriate interventions.