Another Storey: The Real Potential for Estate Densification

This report sought to understand the potential for estate densification by analysing the density of London’s existing estates and the factors affecting the viability of estate densification projects.

With the Mayor of London and central government opposed to building on the green belt and brownfield land in limited supply, it is widely assumed estates are a valuable means of boosting housing supply. Yet we still know astonishingly little about the capital’s existing local authority estates.

By analysing large housing estates in four London boroughs – Lewisham, Barking & Dagenham, Waltham Forest and Hounslow, the report found that densification of large estates could have the potential to add between 80,000 and 160,000 homes across London over 20 years.

However, our analysis has also shown that the capacity for estate densification is often overstated, both in terms of the number of additional units that could be gained, and the density of existing estates compared to their surrounding areas.

Ensuring fair treatment for tenants

Our modelling has shown that there is a clear difference between the amount of compensation given to tenants and that given to owners, and that no one household will experience the same range of impacts.

We therefore argue that Home Loss Payments should be increased to ensure the fair treatment of tenants in the demolition and densification process.

There may also be a case for varying the amount depending on the length of time in the dwelling; its value; and whether the move is outside or within the estate.

Responding to the report, James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Residential Development, Greater London Authority said:

“The Mayor has already started working with local councils, housing associations and developers on a good practice guide for estate regeneration in London. He will also be consulting with Londoners and community groups across the capital, which is one of the key recommendations set out in this Centre for London report.

“Sadiq has been clear that his new guidance will make sure that where demolition is involved, there should be no net loss of social housing, full rights of return for tenants and a fair deal for leaseholders.”


This report was generously supported by