13,500 social homes lost in London since 2003, report claims

6,748 homes have been lost so far while 6,791 more will be lost if approved redevelopment schemes go ahead, Sian Berry said.
A row of red brick houses in London, England.
A row of red brick houses in London, England. Credit: Pixabay.

13,539 social and council homes are set to have been lost in London due to estate redevelopment schemes since 2003 if currently approved projects are completed, a new report has found.

The report, Estate regeneration in London, reveals that 6,748 social homes have already been lost due to sites with existing social housing being demolished, while a further 6,791 will be lost if currently approved schemes go ahead as planned.

Under rules introduced in July 2008, estate redevelopment schemes funded by the mayor of London cannot involve demolition without residents giving approval via a ballot.

However, the report reveals that the policy has yet to take full effect, with thousands of potential home demolitions funded by City Hall just before the new policy came into force set to escape the new rules.

The research found that 1,430 social rented homes will be demolished and not replaced in schemes given planning permission since April 2018 alone.

The government’s proposed new national planning rules would put estates under ‘even greater threat’ by forcing councils to define ‘growth’ or ‘renewal’ areas for rapid or automatic planning approval without consulting residents, Berry added.

Berry said: “London simply cannot afford to lose 13,539 council and housing association homes through demolition. Waiting lists of Londoners in urgent need of housing continue to grow and people are more squeezed than ever by the housing crisis.

“My research today shows we have already lost thousands of social housing homes, and that thousands more are under imminent threat. Demolishing estates in this way not only reduces the amount of housing for families in need, it also breaks up communities at the heart of life in the city.”

The report reveals that Greenwich, Southwark and Hackney currently have the highest total net losses of social housing since 2003, with these boroughs losing 1319, 860 and 802 social homes respectively from completed demolition schemes.

Southwark, Ealing and Barking and Dagenham, meanwhile, will lose the most social rented homes from schemes where construction has not yet been started or completed, losing 1717, 1267 and 982 homes.

Overall, Central London and East London will be the regions to lose the most social rented homes from completed and planned demolition schemes. Central London will also lose the most homes from schemes given planning permission since April 2018.

City Hall said the report gives an ‘incomplete picture’ of the measures it has brought in to prevent the loss of social housing without replacement and London’s current revival in new council housebuilding.

Tom Copley, deputy mayor for housing and residential development, said: “The mayor has achieved record-breaking delivery of genuinely affordable homes in London and despite the challenges of coronavirus we remain committed to backing councils and housing associations to build new affordable homes in the capital. Last year 4,390 new council homes were started in London – the highest total since 1983.

“The mayor has introduced new planning policies to help ensure that estate regeneration schemes maintain or increase the number of homes at social rent levels, and is proud to have introduced ballots to ensure projects have the support of estate residents.”

The mayor’s latest London Plan, which requires all social housing demolished in estate redevelopment schemes to be replaced, has also not yet been fully adopted, the report acknowledged.

Related Posts