We at John Rowan & Partners would definitely agree with the suggestion that the proposed Homes for Londoners (HfL) should be a more ‘interventionist body’.
In London, there is a very real opportunity to maximise established models of estate regeneration. However, what is lacking is an organisation to facilitate a joined-up approach between local authorities, regeneration teams and asset managers.
An organisation such as the HfL could incentivise local authorities to identify estates for regeneration and provide them with a template to allow a simple, high-level and consistent appraisal to be produced - perhaps then an accelerated estate regeneration programme could be implemented.
Analysis of estate regeneration projects (taken from zone 3 areas in London) has shown us that there is great development potential within the existing property portfolios of local authorities.
For example, if we take a 1970s estate of 300 local authority homes and transfer the estate to a registered provider for regeneration, it could create capital receipts in the millions of pounds, increase the number of affordable units by 10%, create 350 new dwellings, provide close to £140m of construction work and reduce estate running costs by around £450,000 a year.
This approach not only utilises existing space and creates new, energy-efficient homes, it helps develop stronger mixed-tenure and mixed-use communities.
If this model was replicated across London alone, with each borough identifying three estates, it could provide an additional 35,500 new homes, provide £14bn worth of construction work and reduce housing maintenance costs by upwards of £25m a year.
Tim Young, partner, John Rowan and Partners