Last week the festive fellows at DCLG treated us to a National Estates Regeneration Strategy, intended to 'breathe new life' into rundown estates.
In addition to setting out best practice for obtaining funding and engaging with residents, the strategy makes a number of observations about how to manage the planning process.
In particular, the strategy points out that planning permission in principle, enacted in the Housing and Planning Act 2016, "presents an opportunity to substantially de-risk regeneration schemes" and create a "far more certain and streamlined planning process" for those involved in new estate regeneration schemes.
The strategy also points out that estate regeneration provides opportunities "to maximise the effective use of land through higher densities, where possible, to help meet their local housing targets." As well as "an opportunity both to improve housing for existing residents and to provide much needed new homes, particularly in urban areas, where estates have been built at relatively low densities."
The strategy is supported by new funding promises and could help get some much needed regeneration schemes off the ground.
As part of a new blueprint for regenerating deprived housing estates, an additional £32 million of new funding is now available, along with £140 million from the estate regeneration fund to build places that work for everyone. It means that councils, housing associations and developers can now bid for a share of £172 million of government investment to transform local neighbourhoods and deliver high-quality housing. They will also get advice on transforming areas from a new ‘national strategy’ to address common challenges that can stop projects, such as resident protection concerns or finding the necessary finance. Estate regeneration has the potential to deliver thousands of additional homes over the next 10 to 15 years. And provide well-designed public spaces and a better quality of life in areas often characterised by poor quality housing and social deprivation.