I’m delighted to read today David Cameron’s pledge to regenerate 100 of the country’s most run-down post-war estates to help fight crime, tackle poverty, and reduce exclusion.
The details of the scheme are yet to be announced, but it’s clear that the Prime Minister’s put a huge amount of ambition into the project. This is a major part of delivering a better society, with more opportunities for all – especially the worst-off.
In some cases, it will involve tearing down decrepit post-war high-rises and building more decent, appropriate housing that blends in more with the local community. This is excellent, not just for people living on the estates, but off them as well, as it increases social cohesion.
Barnet Council has done a great job of estate regeneration: taking down inhospitable skyscrapers and building high-density low-rise in its place. A similar estate regeneration plan is under way in Westminster, in Church Street, Paddington Grove, and Lisson Grove.
Not only has this allowed Barnet and Westminster to improve the housing stock, but build more housing, too. Over the last four years, Conservative-run Barnet has built three times as many homes as Labour-run Camden, while Conservative-run Westminster has built more than 50% more than Camden.
Hopefully, the success of these plan will be copied nation-wide and deliver better results for everyone. The worst-off have been marginalised on ‘sink estates’ for too long, with much regeneration looking like moving the deckchairs on the Titanic.
I’m proud that the Conservatives have grabbed this by the horns and look set to undo the mistakes made fifty years ago in consigning generations of families to live in substandard housing.