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DCLG launches £150m estate regeneration fund

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published a prospectus (17-page / 364 KB PDF) inviting bids for a share of £150 million in loans to support the regeneration of housing estates in England.

The scheme will provide loans of £5m or more towards the regeneration of large housing estates over the financial years 2015/16 to 2018/19, the prospectus said. It will be open to private sector bidders who can clearly demonstrate financial and local authority support for their projects as well as support from the local community.

The prospectus lists criteria for the assessment of bids including: the net addition to social and affordable housing supply; the value for money offered; the government's prospects for recovering its investments; and the amount of local support and need. Schemes with prospects for early delivery and those delivering large increases in housing density are also likely to be favoured.

The prospectus sets a limit on the total public funding of successful projects of below 50%. Loans must be repaid in full with interest at initial rates of between 1.48% and 10.88%, depending on the creditworthiness of the bidder and the amount of collateral offered.

The prospectus requires bidders to look at options for the upgrade and refurbishment of existing homes, before their demolition and replacement. Any demolition proposed "will need to be clearly justified". Sites for regeneration must be designated for development in an adopted development plan or have at least outline planning consent in place by the time funding is awarded.

"At a time when there is acute demand for housing, it is imperative not only that we build new developments but also that we maximise the potential of existing estates", said secretary of state for communities and local government Eric Pickles in the forward to the prospectus.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson added "Across London, many estates of post war public housing are reaching the end of their functional life, too often built as impersonal blocks at lower densities than our most successful neighbourhoods. Carefully planned redevelopment will give existing residents bright, warm new homes meeting my improved design standards, provide urgently needed homes of all tenures and establish vibrant neighbourhoods in areas which have not seen any investment for over a generation."

Money from the 2015/2016 bidding round of the fund will first be released on 31 March 2016.

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