London housing: improving the theory and practice of densifying estates


Arguments for more measured and harmonious approaches to redeveloping the capital’s council estates may be gathering strength

The recent decision by communities secretary Sajid Javid to block Southwark Council’s compulsory purchase (CPO) of part of the huge Aylesbury estate in order to completely redevelop it addressed one of the keenest grievances that arise from such “regeneration” schemes .

In accepting a public inquiry inspector’s recommendation not to confirm the CPO, Javid gave particular weight to the interests of resident leaseholders on the estate. A group of them argued that they have been offered far too little financial compensation for having their homes knocked down – nothing like enough to buy a comparable property in the same area, meaning they’d have to move far from their home neighbourhood to somewhere much cheaper and maybe out of London altogether if they want to remain homeowners.

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