CEO and co-founder of Community Links Kevin Jenkins on the need for developers and communities to work together in the regeneration of Newham


- Credit: Archant

On paper, Newham is the place to be over the next 20 years as London moves eastwards bringing new jobs, new homes, new leisure facilities and new opportunities.

A truly impressive and growing list of developers and financiers are investing in the borough including Siemens, Land Lease, Emirates, Westfield, Swatch, Stan Hope, Canary Wharf Ltd – underpinned by equality, impressive new catalytic infrastructure including Crossrail, the fastest broadband infrastructure in the world, new educational establishments and training courses.

On paper we almost have all the ingredients to achieve a truly once-in-a-lifetime generation change, establishing a sustained legacy of a better quality of life for both today’s and future generations in east London, however, the one essential ingredient we are currently short of is the involvement and therefore ownership of the regeneration opportunities by today’s communities.

The regeneration of the Carpenters Estate which is now stalling, highlighting so vividly the need for a unified approach between the decision makers and communities concerned – both sides want positive change but differ widely in how to achieve this. This is just the latest example.

During the past 40 years east London, since the creation of the London Docklands Development Corporation has been a focal point for regeneration and massive investment during the period but the area is still one of the poorest in the country with levels of poverty, unemployment, poor health and educational underachievement which are far too high.

If we are to achieve the change everyone wants and frankly we will never again have such an opportunity to do so, we need to learn from the past and recognise that the real involvement of today’s communities in the initiation, development and delivery of the areas regeneration and people are given the confidence and skills to do this is as equally important as equally important as the regenerators, financiers and infrastructure.

Achieve this and we will be much closer to achieving the ultimate changes everyone wants and the communities that make Newham deserve – the review at Carpenters could be the first step to achieving this?