Crest Nicholson boss warns private firms will be put off getting involved in estate regeneration

Chris Tinker

A senior Crest Nicholson director has warned he would have avoided estate regeneration projects if Labour’s proposed policy of tenant ballots had been in place.

During a Labour Party annual conference fringe debate on the planning system, Crest’s major projects and strategic partnerships chair Chris Tinker (pictured) said the threat of a tenant veto would be a “huge problem” for private sector involvement in estate revamp projects.

“I would not have done the estate renewal we have done if I knew there was a ballot,” he said, adding that the company could not risk spending millions of pounds on planning such projects just to face the risk of being knocked back late in the process.

Crest’s showpiece estate regeneration projects include the Park Central scheme in the middle of Birmingham.

Both the national Labour party and London elected mayor Sadiq Khan have promised compulsory tenant ballots for all council estate regeneration projects.

Tom Copley, a Labour member of the Greater London Assembly said mayor Sadiq Khan’s policy would increase the “legitimacy” of regeneration which he said had “become a dirty word” due to problems such as insufficient provision of affordable housing.

Tinker added that Labour will need to commit a “substantial amount” of affordable housing grant in order to ensure that its ambition to build 1m homes over ten years is delivered in urban regeneration sites with less required for homes built on the fringes of towns and cities.

“It’s a lot easier to do green field than urban regeneration: you have far more certainty when talking to a field than to thousands of people all of whom have different views.”