High Court Green Lights Demolition of 1960s Housing Estate
Many housing estates, particularly those built in the 1960s, are looking tired and no longer meet modern living requirements. However, as one High Court case showed, their regeneration presents a major challenge for local authorities.
The case concerned a low density urban estate of 360 homes that was considered a model of its kind when it was built more than 50 years ago. However, in the modern era, the condition of some of the homes had declined and the local council viewed the estate as excessively costly to manage and maintain.
A programme of refurbishment would not remedy intrinsic problems in its design, including its large number of staircases that created accessibility problems for disabled people. The council ultimately resolved to establish a special purpose vehicle with the objective of demolishing the entire estate and building 464 new homes on the site.
In dismissing one resident’s judicial review challenge to that decision, the Court noted that residents had been extensively consulted in respect of various options, including refurbishment. Arguments that councillors had been materially misled by an officer’s report in respect of financial aspects of the project fell on fallow ground, as did submissions that the estate’s demolition would breach residents’ human right to peacefully enjoy their private property.