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DCLG announces additional £32m fund for estate regeneration

Communities secretary Sajid Javid has announced a new £32m fund to help regenerate the country’s dilapidated estates, furthering the government’s commitment to regeneration this year.

The £32m, launched by the DCLG, will be set aside for viabilities assessments, planning and community engagement.

The announcement comes in addition to a £140m loan fund announced in January, which was set up to cover the cost of acquiring land, demolishing existing buildings and beginning initial construction work. The remainder of the money will be spent on new staff and consultants for local authorities.

Councils, housing associations and building developers will now all be able to present bids in order to gain a share of the overall £172m.

“Rundown estates offer huge potential to become new thriving communities providing homes, jobs and opportunities and places that work for everyone,” Javid said.

“That's why we're determined to ensure the success of regeneration projects through the national strategy to transform the lives of thousands of people by delivering better homes in better estates.”

The government stated that it intends to build thousands of new homes over the next decade through the initiative, and that it will also be giving councils and other interested bodies advice on how to rebuild estates effectively.

Housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell added that the funding will help kick-start a “renaissance” for estates that have often been overlooked.

Wandsworth Borough Council leader, Cllr Ravi Govindia, welcomed the government's announcement of new guidance and funding, arguing that it would be “a major boost” to authorities across the country in getting housing schemes off the ground.

“It is clear that local authorities have a significant role to play to ensure that estate regeneration meets local housing need and delivers local growth – and in engaging residents and communities in decisions about their area,” Govindia added.

Last month, the think tank ResPublica released a report which argued that the government’s current Estates Regeneration Strategy “lacks the funding needed to bring benefits to all areas of the country”, and urged the government to eschew a solely ‘bricks and mortar’ approach.

Instead, the report recommended placing emphasis on ‘people-related’ outcomes on problematic estates – such as improving health, education, wellbeing and joblessness.

This echoed Locality’s chief executive Tony Armstrong, who said that communities must be at the heart of regeneration in a guest blog for PSE back in January.

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