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High rise tower blocks should be knocked down and replaced by flats and terraced housing to help reduce social unrest in London, a think-tank has argued.

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The Policy Exchange believes an extra 260,000 new homes could be built in the capital in the next seven years if their recommendations were taken on board.

The right-leaning group’s Create Streets report cites “multiple studies” and evidence which shows that people living in high rise blocks are more vulnerable to crime and poor health and education outcomes.

“These multi-storey estates are harmful and occasionally lethal,” the report, co-authored by Nicholas BoysSmith and Alex Morton, stated. “Only last week an inquest opened into the 2009 Camberwell Tower block fire in London which killed six people.

“Studies have shown that residents of high-rise blocks or large estates suffer from more stress, mental health difficulties, neurosis and marriage breakdowns.

“Children living in high rise accommodation suffer from increased hyperactivity, hostility and juvenile delinquency even when you adjust for social economic status.”

In London, almost one third of all families with children living in social housing live on the second floor of a building or above, the report claimed.

“London has started development on just 16,000 homes a year, well below even the minimum number of 32,000 homes a year the Mayor’s London Plan states is needed just to keep up with household growth,” the report added.

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