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Supporting communities, preventing social exclusion and tackling need

Supporting communities, preventing social exclusion and tackling need: a report to Hammersmith United Charities on four low income estates in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham by LSE Housing

Laura Lane and Anne Power, LSE Housing

June 2009

3. Contrasts between East and West London

At the beginning of his report we showed that West London boroughs were significantly less deprived than East London. However, our research shows that council estates in both parts of London are similarly deprived. We were asked to make a comparison between the boroughs of Hammersmith and Fulham and Islington in order to discover how the deprivation we found on our four Hammersmith and Fulham estates compared with a generally poorer part of London. We chose Islington because the Cripplegate Foundation, an Islington charity, offered a possible model of charitable work and had carried out a poverty study in 2008. Islington is in many ways similar to Hammersmith and Fulham, with its extremes of wealth and poverty, mix of old and modern estates, attractive streets and squares. Islington ranks 8th nationally, and 4th in London on the Index of Multiple Deprivation, compared with Hammersmith and Fulham which is 59th in England and 14th in London.

In Islington the most deprived small area ranks well within the most deprived 10% nationally at around 2%. The least deprived small area ranks at 48% and is still within the most deprived 50% of areas nationally.

Table 20: Indices of Deprivation ranking for Islington and Hammersmith and Fulham overall and for extent, local concentration, income and employment

Indices of Deprivation 2007 Islington Hammersmith and Fulham
Average deprivation score (out of 354) Rank 8 59
Population of local authority Count 183,930 170,760
Most deprived LSOA Rank 2% 6%
Least deprived LSOA Rank 48% 66%

Source: Office for National Statistics, Neighbourhood Statistics.

The following facts illustrate the greater concentration of need in East compared with West London.

  • Islington has a larger black and minority ethnic population than Hammersmith and Fulham (25% as opposed to 22% in Hammersmith and Fulham).
  • Islington has far more social renting (44%) and far less owner occupation (34%) than Hammersmith and Fulham (33% and 42% respectively).
  • The health of people in Islington overall is worse than the England average; in contrast in Hammersmith and Fulham health overall is above average.
  • Islington has a much lower level of owner occupation and a higher proportion of renting, particularly social renting.
  • Islington has the least open space of any Londonborough.
  • Islington has inrecent years experienced serious knife crime and gang problems. The crime rate in Hammersmith and Fulham in 2009 is described by the Metropolitan Police asaverage whilst in Islington it is considered above average (Metropolitan Police, 2009).

The following table shows the much higher incidence of crime under all categories in Islington compared with Hammersmith and Fulham. The greater levels of violent crime is particularly alarming.

Table 21: Crime statistics for Islington and Hammersmith and Fulham showing total crimes, homicide, violent crime and robbery (12 months up to April 2009)

Islington Hammersmith and Fulham Metropolitan Police Total
Total crimes 29,358 22,997 843,396
Homicide 8 1 151
Violence against the person (total) 5,800 4,972 175,168
Robbery (total) 1,094 694 32,518


Crime has historically been high in Islington, however overall levels of violence against the person, though lower in Hammersmith and Fulham, are still worryingly high in both boroughs.

We visited two estates in Islington:

  • Packington, within St Peters ward
  • St Lukes, within Bunhill ward

Estate conditions were not significantly different in Islington. The Islington estates were much smaller than three of our study areas in Hammersmith and Fulham; they were also more centrally located. Both estates are modern concrete complex estates, comprising mainly flats in dense blocks.

Large concentrations of social housing contribute significantly to levels of poverty, deprivation and exclusion within areas. The similar conditions within estates within Islington and Hammersmith and Fulham supports the idea that areas of deprivation do exist in all London boroughs, concentrated in areas with high levels of social housing.

It is interesting to compare the tenure of these two wards with our wards in Hammersmith and Fulham. St Peters has a similar proportion of owner occupied households to College Park, Shepherds Bush Green and Wormholt and White City, at about a third. Bunhill however has far fewer, with just a fifth of its households as owner occupiers. Bunhill has the highest percentage of social renting of any of the wards we looked at, across Islington and Hammersmith and Fulham, with 58% of people within the ward living in social rented households. This is also far higher than the borough, London and national levels.

Table 22: Tenure – percentage of people living in households (2001)

St Peters Bunhill Islington London England
Owned 35 21 34 58 71
Social rented 44 58 44 25 18
Private rented 19 18 20 14 9
Living rent free 2 3 2 2 2

The majority of the Packington estate is located within a LSOA which ranks at 4% on the Index of Multiple Deprivation (within the most deprived 5% nationally). St Lukes ranks at 20%.

A small part of the estate however is within another LSOA which ranks at 29% nationally as the area covers much higher income streets. Packington, which was only completed in 1975, is currently undergoing a large redevelopment programme managed by Hyde Housing Association. The new development will include a new youth facility and adventure playground as well as housing for sale and for social renting.

This short summary of conditions on estates in Islington shows that levels of deprivation in council estates in the two boroughs are fairly similar in spite of differences in the overall composition of the two boroughs. It confirms the findings from bigger studies (Hills, 2007) that social housing, concentrated in estates, experiences much more severe poverty than other areas. It is a big separator as the residents we spoke to make clear.

The southern part of Islington is traditionally a more white working class area. St Peters is less ethnically diverse than Islington as a whole with a population that is 81% white compared to 75% within the borough and 71% across London. Bunhill however is more diverse with a 76% white population, almost the same as the Islington level. However, both Islington wards have a higher proportion of white residents than our three Hammersmith and Fulham wards and a far lower proportion of Black or Black British residents. This contrasts with the borough which is more ethnically diverse than Hammersmith and Fulham.

Table 23: Ethnic group – percentage of total population (2001)

St Peters Bunhill Islington London England
White 81 76 75 71 91
Mixed 3 4 4 3 1
Asian or Asian British 4 6 5 12 5
Black or Black British 9 10 12 11 2
Chinese or Other Ethnic Group 3 4 3 3 1

Packington Estate, Islington


Medium rise blocks with green open spaces and playground areas


Islington Services for Young People – mobile unit on the estate

St Lukes


High rise blocks

Green areas and playground facilities on the St Lukes estate


Overall the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham does rank among more deprived boroughs, but it is far from the most deprived, whereas Islington is clearly among the bottom areas. At the same time, the poorer Northern part of the borough, particularly the 4 council estates we have studied, are among the poorest areas of the country with some of the highest levels of deprivation. The high concentrations of lone parents and children and young people compound these intense problems. For this reason, in our survey of residents, which follows, clear priorities for action emerge around these problems we have shown through our analysis of the Index of Multiple Deprivation.

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