Catalyst Housing Association

(formally Ealing Family Community Housing Association) A prominent housing association in the Ealing Borough, Catalyst Housing Association was involved with the initial regeneration scheme of South Acton in the late 1990s to the late 2000s. But due to the financial constraints of a minimal investment of 20 million pounds and the collapse of Wates construction, Catalyst discontinued a total regeneration of the estate and only completed the Southward of the estate, namely, All Saints Road as an example. The 2.1 and 2.2 of the Catalyst regeneration were primarily a reprovision of the social housing of the area, providing housing to a similar economic level as the residents in the estate area. This information was used as a frame of planning justification to reduce the later regeneration phases ratio of social housing reprovision to “balance” the mixed community. More information can be found on their main website.

Acton Gardens

Acton Gardens is a not-for-profit company formed as part of a competition by Ealing Council in 2010 to continue the turbulent regeneration of South Acton estate. Acton Gardens is a joint venture by London & Quadrant and Countryside. Acton Gardens plans to invest 600 million pounds into the estate to fund a community hub centre and neighbour regeneration. This investment is based on the sales and government subsidies gained by the not-for-profit company. More information can be found on their main website.

London & Quadrant

A larger housing association in comparison to other RSLs (Registered Social Landlords) in the South Acton estate and it’s wider area. More information can be found on their main website.

Countryside

Countryside is a nationwide housing developer that works on regeneration schemes like the current estate regeneration of South Acton estate. Countryside in the simplest terms supervises the sale and management of the private sector of South Acton’s regeneration. More information is can be accessed on their website.

South Acton

South Acton estate has been stated as the “council’s largest estate” in the Ealing borough and “largest municipal housing estates in West London” [1]. It contained more than 5000 residents and around 2000 households; 1800 of which were social housing tenants. South Acton estate was constructed as part of a nation-wide scheme to create social housing for the working class after the Second World War. This initiative replaced slum terraces and Victorian houses as part of a regeneration scheme in the mid 20th century. After decades of disrepair and ill-maintenance of the tower blocks and mid-rises; the Council (Ealing Borough Council) looked for solutions to sustaining the estate.

Since 1997 the Council embarked on regenerating the estate in totality. The first notable demolition was 21 stories tall tower block; Barrie House in 2001 [2]. This was the start of the second housing and neighbourhood regeneration of South Acton estate. What differs from the 20th century regeneration to currently, the late 2010s of the 21st century, is that the scheme enacted today is a philosophy of mixed-tenure communities, reshaping mono-tenured estates, both physically and in residential economical classes, i.e. a community of affluent and impoverished families living in the same building complex designed as “tenure-blind”, therefore no one outside of the community can tell the difference between the groups.

Source: 2001 BBC Report (accessed mdsh.com)

Before the initial regeneration with Ealing Family Housing Association with Keystart Housing Association, South Acton was a primary council estate under Ealing Council, even though a part of the estate overlaps to London borough of Hounslow. There are approximately 54 Post-War blocks at the 1940s to 2001 time period according to available documents online, such as Tower Block. At this interval period of South Acton’s history, over 1800 social housing tenants existed with over 6000 residents. South Acton estate has been known as “Soapsuds Island” due to its historic laundrettes industry, or “the Klondike”.

Acton Gardens’ Regeneration

Acton Gardens is a joint venture between Housing Association L&Q (London and Quadrant) and Countryside Properties; a housing developer. To simplify their collaborative roles, L&Q provides the social housing in the future estate named as “Acton Gardens estate” and Countryside provides the luxury apartments for sale and rent. Prior to this scheme, there were 1800 Social Rent level homes in the estate as of 2005, after the estate regeneration this figure is likely to be lesser approximately as 900 Social Rent homes, magazine housing specialists; Inhousing reported that “954 (33%) [are] available at affordable rent” [3] – this is because Acton Gardens’ scheme is to create a mixed community of affluent and working-class residents with the aspiration to create a balanced neighbourhood. The reduction of social rent level housing in the area is without contention, however, there is little to no dispute from the local residents in regards to this reduction.

It has to be stated that the de-stigmatisation of South Acton’s estate is evidential to the developers as their figure mantra of “80 percent [of residents] wanted to leave and now80 percent [of residents] want to stay”- this is perhaps due to the attractiveness of housing, that no doubt is a tangible solution to create a sense of belongingness to a community and attaining sustainability. But as there has not been a significantly long study in mixed community schemes in the country that can provide reasonable conclusive results to see a successful example of reducing social issues like higher crime rate, anti-social behaviour, and self-imposing segregations. Further to this point, simply removing “problem-tenants” may not be an ethical solution, that helps the most vulnerable individuals that require additional care and consideration.

Decanting Process

Decanting is a term used by housing specialists to describe the removal of residents from a condemned block, either by vacating the property by a bailiff, relocating the residents through Locata to another council property, or transfer to as a resident on the Acton Gardens newly constructed property.

Section 106 of Planning Permission

A section part of Town and Country Planning Act 1990 detailing the requirements and regulation of planning permission of housing construction and future maintenance.

Ealing Council of LBE

The local authority in the London Borough of Ealing (LBE).

Greater London Authority

The largest county authority that governs the local boroughs of London.

Central Government

The nationwide government alongside parliament. Currently ran by Theresa May the leader of the Conservative Party.

Home Loss Payment

The Home Loss Payment is a government grant provided for residents who have been displaced by housing regeneration demolitions – regardless of the length of time housing is provided for them. The singular fund has increased every year, at this point, it is near 6000 pounds.

Mixed Community Scheme

A mixed community scheme is a developer rationale for rebalancing or introducing affluent housing in a mono-tenure estate area like council estates. This initiative has a philosophy of inclusion, destigmatisation of estates, reinvestment of dilapidated areas and removal of problem tenants. “Mixed community is both physically and socially integrated for the surrounding area”.

Mono-Tenured Estate

Mono tenured estates are both socially and economically homogeneous areas where a singular type of residential group resides. In this case, South Acton’s status as a mono-tenured estate is based on the lowest form of tenure available through government subsidies. Arguably the Redbrick estate part of the South Acton estate is within its own social group.

Social Housing

According to Shelter (the homeless and housing charity), social housing in England is “let at low rents on a secure basis to those who are most in need or struggling with their housing costs” [4]. In South Acton, Social housing makes the primary form of tenure in the estate area.

Affordable vs Genuinely Affordable Rent

The definition of Affordable Rent is based on the GLA’s Genuinely Affordable Rent aimed at lower-income families at a 50 percent market rent level. This differs from the nation-wide definition of Affordable Rent which is at a maximum 80 percent of the market rent value.

 

 

Contact: avishkar.chhetri@nonviableliving.co.uk

References


[1] https://www.ealing.gov.uk/info/201104/housing_regeneration/377/south_acton_estate/1 (accessed 14th June 2018)

[2] https://mdsh.com/wiki/jsp/Wiki?Barrie%20House (accessed 14th June 2018)

[3] https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/insight/insight/rebuilding-soapsud-island-50197 (accessed 14th June 2018)

[4] http://england.shelter.org.uk/campaigns_/why_we_campaign/Improving_social_housing/what_is_social_housing (accessed 14 June 2018)