Industry responds to Prime Ministers pledge to transform sink estates

// HA News

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that some of the country’s most run-down housing estates will be replaced with attractive and safe homes.

David Cameron described the post-war social housing estates in the UK as a "gift to criminals and drug dealers." He also pledged to spend £140 million for the country’s worst housing estates to be removed and replaced with safe and attractive homes for residents.

In an article written by the PM for The Sunday Times, Cameron said "Step outside in the worst estates, and you're confronted by concrete slabs dropped from on high, brutal high-rise towers and dark alleyways that are a gift to criminals and drug dealers."

"The police often talk about the importance of designing out crime, but these estates actually designed it in. Decades of neglect have led to gangs, ghettos and anti-social behaviour and poverty has become entrenched, because those who could afford to move have understandably done so."

RIBA President Jane Duncan said “We welcome the Government’s decision to look at improving the built environment in the most deprived communities in our country. We believe passionately that everyone has a right to enjoy and benefit from well-designed architecture. These community improvements, however, can’t come at the expense of existing residents and see further reductions in the number of social rented homes at a time where there is already a desperate shortage.”

Commenting on the proposals, Neil Marshall, CEO of the National Insulation Association (NIA) said “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.”

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