The Single Regeneration Budget, at its inception, was heralded as a breakthrough in English urban policy. It consolidated the emphasis on unified regeneration projects in which local authorities and communities played key roles. We examine empirical evidence of successful London bids from the programme to determine whether it lived up to its claims, in the city that gained the largest share of the budget. Drawing on headline funding and projected output data from all six annual bidding rounds, we conclude that the programme had disparate aims that were based more on contemporary political issues than on a coherent long-term strategy. Furthermore, the aims of individual projects were often unrealistic, so that monitoring and management were likely to fall short of what was planned. On the basis of this evidence, a wider discussion criticises the general drift of urban policy from the 1970s towards 'locality managerialism' -- a belief that problems of dilapidation and deprivation have predominantly spatial causes and can be tackled through area-based programmes.