Research shows significant social return on investment for London regeneration project

May 5th, 2016 by Lisa Graveling, Media Manager in Home Group News

A tree and grass surrounded by houses

Home Group has published the results of a report carried out by LSE to assess the impact of a £140m regeneration programme at Rayners Lane, a former council owned estate in the London Borough of Harrow.

The estate was previously difficult to manage, run down and unpopular. Fear of crime was high, with only a third feeling safe or very safe being out after dark. Home Group carried out a major aspirational redevelopment of the area delivering houses and apartments, local shops and business space, along with the Beacon - a multifunctional community centre - sports facilities and a new park.

The development demonstrates innovation in both design and sustainability, with features such as solar panel heating for all homes. 539 homes from the original estate were demolished and replaced with 800 new homes of mixed tenure of which nearly 500 were for rehousing existing residents plus some for outright sale and shared equity. A large majority of the existing community stayed on the estate. The estate houses mainly families with around half from ethnic minorities.

LSE assessed social return on investment as £10 for every £1 invested in the development. This reflects what Home Group spends in order to run it, compared with the return or pay-back the community and the landlord gain in social benefits.

Highlights from the report include the following:

Residents see the regeneration as having brought positive changes to the estate with 85% saying they think the estate is now better than it was.

  • Residents think the community has developed in a positive way. Four in five think the quality of life on the estate is good or excellent, compared with only a quarter in 2003
  • Perceptions about crime have changed significantly for the better. Half of residents think that crime has reduced in the last year
  • Learning, skills and employment have shown noticeable signs of improvement with local schools improving and the number of people with qualifications increasing
  • There is improved health on the estate
  • There is major investment in activities for children and young people. This is particularly valuable for young people. The Beacon Centre hosts a wide range of local events, classes and clubs.

Brian Ham, Director for Enterprise and Development at Home Group comments; “These results are really positive and a good benchmark for other regeneration projects. Most importantly, residents are now clearly very happy with their homes, think highly of Home Group as a landlord and generally feel much safer and more involved with the community. With innovation and community at its heart, we look forward to seeing more local authorities adopting this social model.”

Anne Power, Professor of Social Policy at London School of Economics, comments; “Rayners Lane shows that it is possible to rebuild a former council estate with most of the existing tenants in place. By providing local management and community resources, the landlord can help the community flourish. The Rayners Lane model shows how social renting and private housing can fit together into a workable whole.”

The report also identified ongoing improvements for Home Group to make to the project, which the team is committed to making.

Read the Rayners Lane Report in full.

Rayners Lane Summary Report

Read our Rayners Lane case study.

* London School of Economics uses the Housing Association Charitable Trust (HACT) framework for assessing this return. We estimate the pay-back to Home to be in the ratio of 10:1. For every £1 invested currently in social provision, the social return is in the region of £10. There are detailed tables showing this.