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Estate renewal in London: an assessment of regeneration induced displacement

Amidst talk of the social cleansing and gentrification of London, this policy briefing reviews the findings of a 33-month ESRC-funded research project which explored the impact of London council estate renewal on those residents being ‘decanted’ from their homes to allow for demolition and redevelopment.

Key findings

  • The scale of decanting from council estates has been under-estimated: there have been at least 161 schemes in London since 1997 which have involved demolition, and at least 55,000 households (approximately 150,000 to 200,000 residents) have had to move.
  • The majority of properties on redeveloped estates are sold at market rate and few meet the definition of ‘affordable’ housing. Housing association rents are usually higher than council rents, properties are generally smaller, and in being moved into housing association properties council tenants lose the extra protections built into council housing tenure.
  • The impact of decanting on residents varies according to tenure. For many leaseholders, compensation payments for their properties do not allow them to buy a similar property near to their previous residence; council tenants are often rehoused nearer the original estate but sometimes out of borough.
  • Temporary tenants are often moved onto estates in the process of being decanted. Many temporary tenants have ended up living on decanting estates for many years, yet they have no rights in terms of being rehoused on the footprint of the estate, in the new development or nearby.
  • Returning to the original footprint of the estate is often impossible for leaseholders given similar-sized properties in the new developments tend to become much less affordable after redevelopment: shared ownership properties are rarely attractive for those who previously bought their property under ‘right to buy’.

Authors: Prof Loretta Lees (University of Leicester) and Prof Phil Hubbard (King’s College London)

For more information on the project, please visit the dedicated project website.


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Date: July 17, 2020 9:00 am

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