Changes in technology, working patterns and globalization have caused larger and quicker changes to areas than previously thought possible.
As well as unsettling or damaging the local economy and leading to widespread unemployment, they also trigger the domino-effect that leads to poor housing and a variety of associated community issues.
Urban regeneration is crucial for reclaiming these lost areas of society, Whilst investment in the form of new businesses, homes and job opportunities is usually welcomed with open arms, it can also lead to existing residents feeling like they have no voice in the changes being made to their area.
Redevelopment that occurs without community input can leave families and residents feeling anxious, powerless and ostracised by newcomers.
This story is true for people of all ages and demographics, but is especially poignant when it comes to more vulnerable members of the community and elderly people who may have lived in an area their entire life, only to be faced with the worry of sudden change and their homes not feeling like their own anymore.
Reliant as they are on local provisions, the threat of change can be frightening and appear disrespectful.
This is a growing concern as regeneration becomes an increasingly important issue. However, it doesn’t have to be a ‘problem’ at all – indeed, it could represent opportunity.
Church Street, in the north of Westminster in central London, was identified as a key area for regeneration.
As a diverse area with multiple priorities and needs, it was important for the regeneration process to focus on engaging as many residents as possible, from a diverse range of backgrounds.
To achieve this, we worked closely with several local groups, to develop a truly inclusive strategy that was reflective of the local population, their immediate needs and their aspirations for the future.
Westminster City Council’s Cabinet has agreed the masterplan that sets a framework to deliver around 1,750 new homes - including replacement social housing for existing council tenants, and new homes - with 35% of these being classed as affordable.
Other enhancements include up to a 40% increase in publicly accessible open space, an improved market with around 220 stalls and new retail and construction-related job opportunities, amongst other community-led initiatives.