Thomas Bridge 11 June 2015

Demolish council estate high-rise blocks, says housing minister

Demolish council estate high-rise blocks, says housing minister image

Housing minister Brandon Lewis has said London’s high-rise flats on estates could be demolished and rebuilt to increase housing supply.

Speaking at the London Real Estate Forum, Lewis said inner city areas were ‘dominated by high-rise concrete blocks from the 1960s and 70s’ yet a number of inner London projects had shown how ‘these concrete blocks can be torn down and replaced with streets’ – the FT reports.

The speech marked Lewis’s first official speech since being reappointed housing minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

London boroughs have long been warning ministers of a ‘housing crisis’ amid spiralling demand for expensive land. Westminster City Council yesterday releasing draft plans to unite with other councils and construct homes outside the capital, warning ‘there isn’t enough space’ in its own boundaries.

Lewis said central London boroughs were currently housing fewer people than they were in 1939 because of the low densities of housing estates.

‘Complete rebuilding of these estates will provide more homes and commercial space for the same amount of land,’ Lewis said.

The housing minister has today announced an investment of £252m in the construction of 1,353 homes for private rent in Stratford, west London and Southwark.

The funds mark a further allocation from the Government’s £1bn Build to Rent Fund, which is designed to support development of large scale homes for the private rented sector.

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