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Government supports ResPublica call for estate residents’ charter

09 December 2016

The Government’s estate regeneration strategy published yesterday includes strong support for placing residents “at the centre of reshaping their estates”, as called for by ResPublica.

The strategy encourages developers to ensure that the process of regeneration is “locally-led”, as part of guidance on how landlords, developers and local authorities should engage with residents throughout an estate regeneration scheme.

This emphasis closely echoes the recommendations made in ResPublica’s November 2016 publication Great Estates: Putting communities at the heart of regeneration, as well as the focus on community involvement in the planning system put forward in ResPublica’s 2015 report A Community Right to Beauty.

According to ResPublica housing lead Edward Douglas, author of Great Estates:

“regeneration can, when communities are put at the heart of the process, deliver real benefits to local places and impact on people’s lives – and can at the same time deliver new homes in places that desperately need them”.

Great Estates called for the Department for Communities and Local Government to produce best practice guidance as part of the estate regeneration strategy, centred on a new residents’ charter based on transparency, participation, community representation and resident advantages. The Government’s regeneration strategy gives explicit backing to the idea of such a charter, and we welcome the Government’s support for this measure.

Great Estates also highlighted the potential social impact of estate regeneration if this is done well, again building on A Community Right to Beauty‘s findings that an attractive and well-designed built environment is strongly associated with improved local public health and crime rates, among other positive outcomes. We therefore further welcome the Government’s ambition to ensure its regeneration strategy delivers “well-designed public spaces and a better quality of life” for residents.

The Backing Beauty Commission is now calling on the Government to ensure that sufficient funding is made available to allow estate regeneration to deliver aesthetic improvements alongside improvements in the quality and quantity of housing units. Our research has found that households further down the income distribution are less likely to consider the area where they live to be beautiful; we believe the Government should make use of its estate regeneration drive as an opportunity to begin to resolve this social injustice.

We want to see communities fully involved in the process of deciding the design and appearance of regenerated estates, to allow them to create places and spaces which they consider to be beautiful and unlocking the benefits our research suggests are associated with that outcome.