Concerns raised across the industry following Government regeneration announcement


GovernmentThe industry has voiced its concerns in response to a recent Government announcement that some of the country’s run-down housing estates will be demolished and rebuilt.

The new Government scheme will see it working with 100 housing estates across the country to either radically transform them or, in the worst cases, knock them down and replace them with ‘high-quality’ homes.

It says that the new £140m fund, designed to jump-start regeneration projects across the UK, comes as part of a package of measures to ‘end poverty and improve the life chances of the most disadvantaged.’

However, concerns have been raised across the industry as many recognise the need to improve housing estates across the country, but also suggest that the money used to demolish and rebuild the properties may be put to more efficient use.

Neil Marshall, CEO of the National Insulation Association (NIA) commented: “Whilst we support the Prime Minister’s proposals to improve housing estates in England, we are concerned that the plans appear to focus purely on demolition and rebuilding.

“Housing estates can be regenerated and transformed by upgrading the existing properties including the installation of attractive external wall insulation. The cost of upgrading estates is significantly less than demolition and rebuilding which means more households could be helped with the money.

“In addition, upgrading the existing buildings avoids the hassle and disruption of having to re-house the occupants which is associated with demolition and rebuilding.

“We would therefore urge the Prime Minister to reconsider the proposals and focus more of the investment on upgrading existing properties.”

Further concerns from the industry fear for the fate of the residents of those estates undergoing redevelopment, as Andrew Teacher, managing director for Blackstock Consulting commented: “Another critical element will be rights of residents to return – something else that the Government’s statement addresses.

“Large-scale social housing regeneration projects often fail to put enough social housing back, and so ensuring residents not only have the right to return but can afford to do so will be the key point here.”

The full announcement from the Prime Minister can be viewed here.

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