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We need to recognise the role of regeneration in ending the housing crisis


For several years now the “R” word has been outlawed and banished from our sector’s vocabulary. We’ve been told, “Don’t mention the “R” word, it’s not part of the housing crisis”. I believe that the “R” word can and should play a critical part in tackling areas of low demand, low value and obsolete housing stock which exists in many of our communities.

Regeneration must take its place back at the table. Nationally the housing crisis is seen as swimming against a tide of high cost housing, growing population, demand out-stripping supply, rents rising faster than people’s income, local economies under pressure and people no longer able to live in the areas they were born and brought up in. Yes, of course, we need to build more homes, but we must also recognise the role that regeneration of existing areas can play in ending the housing crisis.

It’s about building futures, stimulating economic growth and creating long term stable communities.

We need high quality, modern housing in the right place and of the right type. At Coast & Country we do get our hands dirty and pride ourselves in the game changing regeneration we have already delivered.

Our innovative Empty Homes project works towards addressing the issue of long-term empty homes whilst providing training, volunteering and work opportunities. Bringing empty homes back into use has an incredibly positive effect on the local community and contributes to the regeneration of areas. Alongside this, it’s vital we invest in the areas that have fallen into decline, disrepair and detachment. We need to transform these spaces to provide secure, affordable, well-designed and practical homes which act as a catalyst for growth and opportunity.

Regeneration is powerful, political, personal and it needs a firm place on the political agenda. By investing in major rehabilitation and redesign of existing homes and neighbourhoods we can create jobs and stimulate economic growth. We can create future proofed communities, remove false narratives of social housing and provide homes to address specific needs.

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Written by Iain Sim | Posted on 25th February 2015

Iain has been Chief Executive of Coast & Country Housing since 2002. Iain is Chair of North East Procurement and holds a number of other non-exec positions including the Board of My Home Finance. He started his career as a Trainee Housing Manager at Hamilton District Council in 1974. He steadily moved through a number of senior positions in Scotland, before moving to South Bedfordshire District Council in the early 1990’s, and joined Langbaurgh Borough Council in 1995 as Chief of Housing and Building Services. Iain quickly moved into the position of Director of Housing, at Redcar and Cleveland, where, in 2001, he led the team preparing for the Large Scale Voluntary Transfer of housing stock to Coast & Country Housing.