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RIBA and leading architects welcome new estate regeneration strategy

Alton Estate
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The RIBA and top housing architects have praised the government’s extra funding and new national strategy on estate regeneration, unveiled yesterday (8 December)

The new plan, aimed at tackling dilapidated housing estates, provides guidance on resident engagement and protection, including a ‘model residents’ charter’ to ensure those affected by redevelopment get a better deal.

It will also cover alternative approaches to regeneration, such as community-led housing development, and will use case studies to highlight good examples of design quality.

The announcement was welcomed by RIBA president Jane Duncan, a member of the independent advisory panel chaired by Michael Heseltine and housing minister Gavin Barwell that helped develop the strategy. 

She said: ‘The RIBA has long campaigned for all communities to be built with the needs of local people at their heart. We are pleased to see that the government has listened and included strong protections for existing estate residents within today’s announcement.

’We’re pleased to see the government has included strong protections for existing estate residents’

‘I am particularly encouraged to see the government’s recognition that good design is key to any estate regeneration approach, and that improving the built environment has a direct positive impact on the life chances of residents.’  

Alex Ely, principal of Mae, who deputised for Jane Duncan on the advisory panel, added: ‘The strategy encourages context-specific solutions and has moved away from an apparent assumption in favour of demolition, when the initiative was first announced, to a much more inclusive approach that allows for refurbishment, intensification as well as remodelling.’

’The strategy has moved away from an apparent assumption in favour of demolition’

Ely, whose practice worked on the regeneration of Agar Grove estate with Hawkins\Brown and the Hillington Square estate, added that the plan ‘recognises that in reality private partnership is often needed to help lever investment above what the public sector can support’. 

The strategy will also include a ‘good practice guide’, which the government said would steer schemes through all stages and advise on the range of finance options available.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid also announced yesterday £32 million of extra funding to ‘breath new life into rundown estates’, in addition to the government’s existing £140 million estate regeneration fund.

Councils, housing associations and developers can bid for a share of the total £172 million of government investment to transforming housing estates across the country.

Andrew Ogorzalek, director at PCKO Architects, an AHR company, said: ‘For a long time our industry has experienced a lack of clear direction in terms of funding and implementation and we are excited to work with clients and communities to turn this funding into inspirational, vibrant new neighbourhoods.

‘We are really keen to get on with the work, alongside our colleagues across the built environment, and provide innovative and long-term design solutions for these developments.’

The £32 million of extra funding will include £30 million towards work such as feasibility studies, viability assessments, masterplanning, community engagement and procurement advice, and £2 million to help local authorities support estate regeneration work.

The original £140 million fund was announced in January and is used to cover costs such as land assembly, leaseholder buy-outs, rehousing costs, demolition, and preparatory construction works.

Councils, housing associations and developers can bid for a share of the total £172 million of government investment into estate regeneration. 

Aylesbury estate 005

Aylesbury estate 005

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Ben Derbyshire, RIBA president-elect and chair of HTA Design which is working on a number of estate regeneration schemes, including masterplanning Aylesbury estate, South Acton and the Ebury Bridge estate.

‘We are pleased to see the guidance tackling best practice on the role and rights of residents, the process of engagement and the importance of residents’ charters in enabling this.

’There are many estate regeneration projects out there where residents are demonstrably in support of the changes being planned for their neighbourhoods. We need to dispel the notion that urban regeneration projects of this kind do not result in mixed neighbourhoods that are popular, successful and sustainable.’

 

 

 

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