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Think tank study of estate regeneration in London, Milton Keynes, Birmingham and Sheffield finds process must be community-led

Research by think tank ResPublica finds that Government plans for estate regeneration must be community-led if they are to be successful – and that regeneration of estates in Milton Keynes could generate £66.6 million for the public purse by 2030.In a study of 122 estates around the country, ResPublica found that the Government's approach to regeneration will not meet its dual aims of tackling deprivation and delivering new homes if communities are not given a genuine stake in the process.ResPublica’s report found that estates across London and the South East are often concentrations of deprivation, with poorer health, education, crime and employment outcomes than the towns and cities in which they are located. On each of the seven estates currently planned for regeneration in Milton Keynes, ResPublica found that unemployment rates were higher than in the city as a whole, and that residents rated their health below the city average. In a survey of regeneration schemes in London, Milton Keynes, Birmingham and Sheffield, the report finds that regeneration only meets the needs of residents where communities were given power over the process.The Government has made available just £140 million for regeneration of 100 estates. ResPublica’s study also finds that more funding could be made available to ensure communities around the country can benefit. It finds that improving employment outcomes in just 12 well-known estates could generate Government savings to the tune of at least £140 million by 2030. Plans to regenerate seven estates in Milton Keynes alone could, the study found, generate £66.6 million for the public purse by 2030 by improving employment outcomes.In February this year, the then Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to regenerate "sink" estates to tackle deprivation and build new homes. Alongside this, funding of £140 million was announced to support regeneration on 100 estates, with most of the costs of regeneration coming from the private sector. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is due to publish Lord Heseltine's Estate Regeneration Strategy ahead of the Autumn Statement on 23rd November, this think tank report highlights where this strategy could fail unless the Government changes its approach.In Great Estates: Putting communities at the heart of regeneration, ResPublica sets out what can be done to maximise the potential of estates. It recommends the creation of a Residents’ Charter to empower communities, and the creation of a new Estate Endowment Fund to attract social investment into regeneration. It also argues that the Government should consider directing higher levels of public funding to regeneration given the savings that would come from improved educational, health and employment outcomes in these communities.ResPublica report author Edward Douglas said:“What our research has found is that communities need to be at the heart of regeneration. The need for regeneration in many places is clear – seven of Milton Keynes’ estates are amongst the 15 per cent most deprived parts of the country. The question we need to ask is what form that regeneration should take.“Schemes need to focus on the needs of communities and deliver wider benefits beyond simply building new homes. We found that 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.“The new Government has a great opportunity to look again at this to ensure opportunity and prosperity are spread to all parts of the country.” Graham Allen, Labour MP for Nottingham North and member of the Government’s Estate Regeneration Panel, said:"I fully support the thinking behind ResPublica's report. We need to meet housing shortages in London and the South East, but it is also vital that we look at what can have a meaningful impact on the lives of residents on estates around the country."It is vital that we recognise the different needs of communities on estates around the country, and look at new ways to meet those needs. ResPublica's innovative ideas set out the way forward for estates, and I urge the Government to pay full heed to them." James Cartlidge, Conservative MP and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Housing andPlanning, said:“Transforming our estates can deliver new homes where they are needed and boost the life chances of those who live on them. But it is also important that residents get a say over any redevelopment, and that we look at new ways to attract investment in estates around the country so that everyone can benefit.“ResPublica’s timely report on estate regeneration is very welcome, as this is an issue that should be at the heart of a One Nation agenda for our country.” David Gleeson, Managing Director of YourMK, which is regenerating the seven estates in Milton Keynes featured in this report, said:“We are doing regeneration very differently here in Milton Keynes. This will be a community led commercially framed programme, with tenants and residents very involved in helping us to develop ideas and make choices. This is not just about building houses, we are looking to build real social value and develop communities, taking the best of Milton Keynes and making it even better."That's why we fully support this important new report, with its focus on community engagement. As ResPublica set out, regeneration has a wider social value beyond bricks and mortar."


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