The future of London’s council housing

As much as I love looking around London’s old council estates, it isn’t always good to dwell only on the past.

In my own neighbourhood there are some really nice, modern council estates. One good example is the Minerva Estate, which was completely renovated in 2002 by Apollo London – turning an ageing, somewhat depressing place into a very continental looking development.

I think we need more affordable houses like this in London. And I guess the mayor does too because he has just issued the London Housing Design Guide.

This spells out requirements for any homes built on land owned by the London Development Agency (that would be most of Newham – where there will be a lot of development happening over the next 20 years) and any projects backed by the London branch of the government’s Homes and Communities Agency.

The document was prepared by the London Development Agency, together with Mae Architects. Mae Architects is the practice behind the regeneration of the Colville Estate in Hackney. Turning the estate from this

Into this

(image: Mae Architects)
The guide, which will be published next year to align with the new London Plan and Housing Supplementary Planning Guidance and the HCA design standards review.

But for it to really make a difference it needs to become aligned with planning policy – and that’s all up in the air at the moment. Hopefully, at some point in the future, we will look back on this guide and see the first steps to ensuring that all new council housing provides decent places to live for everyone.

For more info on this, read this by Kieran Long for the Evening Standard. The Architect’s Journal also covered the story.

2 thoughts on “The future of London’s council housing

  1. Interestingly – the residents on the Minerva Estate wanted the estate taken back to how it looked when first built, the main differences being the addition of the lift towers where the bin chambers used to be and the introduction of underground refuse storage.

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