CENTRAL HILL DEMOLITION PLANS ‘CALLED IN’ FOR REVIEW – as Bennett is set to move from housing to planning
The decision by Lambeth council’s cabinet to demolish Central Hill estate in Crystal Palace has been ‘called in’ for review.
Lambeth’s Conservative opposition leader Cllr Tim Briggs, who has made the call-in, says:
- New evidence provided by the residents of Central Hill has not been considered.
- The survey undertaken by Lambeth council is not a proper consultation – which he describes as “alleged”
- No evidence has been provided to support the allegation that it will cost £40 million to refurbish the estate.
- No justification or costings or evidence of any weight or relevance has been provided for the council’s allegation that repairing Central Hill estate will cost £40 million.
- No proper impact assessments of the decision to demolish appear to have been carried out.
- Lambeth council have not considered how to spread the cost of refurbishment.In his request for a call-in Cllr Briggs says: “This is not a proper consultation with any validity as evidence to support the demolition of the estate.
“Even with such skewed, leading questions, Lambeth council still only manage to suggest that ‘55 per cent of council tenants support the proposal for complete development’.
“Yet without asking a clear, non-leading question, how Lambeth council came to establish this result is mysterious, given that it would be hard for many residents to be able to express a clear opinion given the wording of the question. “The methodology of the survey is not set out.”
RESIDENTS EVIDENCE NOT CONSIDERED
“The survey carried out by residents reveals that 78pc of the 73pc of residents that responded to the survey do not want the estate to be demolished, and this has not been taken into account by cabinet members.
“By the time of the call-in, the data and findings of the survey should be included.
“In the event that Lambeth council find fault with the methodology, the survey can be done again. Such an important decision should engage all evidence of any weight or relevance, and consulting properly with residents should not be ignored.
NO PROPER CONSULTATION
“The survey does not ask the key question as to whether residents would prefer to refurbish the estate, rather than have their homes demolished.
“The form provided to residents to gauge their views simply states the following:
‘Having spoken to residents over the past year and considered all the available possibilities, the council believes that fully rebuilding the estate is the only practical option. ‘These are the other proposals that have been considered: Refurbishment / Infill / Partial rebuilding / Architects for Social Housing (ASH) proposal .’
“No justification or costings or evidence of any weight or relevance has been provided for the council’s allegation that repairing Central Hill estate will cost £40 million.
“Until all of the data behind this allegation is provided for scrutiny, it cannot be taken seriously, yet it appears to have formed part of the reasoning behind the decision to demolish the estate.
“The council made no attempt to suggest how the costs of repairing the estate over an extended period of time can be spread, in order to make repairing the estate an option.
“Until this data is provided, the idea that the costs of repairing the estate cannot be met over time remains unpersuasive, yet it appears to have formed part of the reasoning behind the decision to demolish the estate.
“Questions remain around whether a proper Environmental Impact Assessment has been done, as demolishing the estate will release all the embodied carbon currently locked in the estate. Nor were residents’ concerns addressed over asbestos and other pollutants that would result from the demolition of the estate.
“Rebuilding the estate will increase the number of heavy plant and goods vehicles during the years of building, and the increase in numbers of people on the estate will be a huge burden on an already creaking transport infrastructure.
“There was no consideration by Cabinet on the impact on other services such as schools, health services and local businesses.
“Nor was there any discussion about discrimination against minority groups who are normally the most disaffected in estate rebuilds, all the more appalling when you consider that Lambeth under Labour has been branded the most unequal borough in London by the Runnymede Trust, and under Labour’s mismanagement has become the 29th poorest in the country.
“Without proper consideration of these issues, cabinet members cannot have made a proper decision based on evidence.”
Cllr Briggs call-in has been supported by the council’s sole Green party representative Cllr Scott Ainslie who says: “The council has clearly made its decisions against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of residents on Central Hill, and everyone who opposes what it is doing should be working together in the best interests of those who live there.”
Cllr Briggs wants the council’s overview and scrutiny committee to send the decision back to cabinet with a recommendation that the demolition be halted, and that all of these evidential issues be properly addressed, and that residents are properly consulted in a non-leading way as to whether they want the estate (a) repaired, or (b) demolished and then rebuilt under the terms of Lambeth council’s ‘key guarantees’ or ‘principles’.
But the council’s overview and scrutiny committee (OSC) has a tradition of backing cabinet decisions on estate demolition.
In October 2015 the OSC backed a cabinet decision to demolish the Cressingham Gardens estate at Tulse Hill but made a number of recommendations for the cabinet to consider – including comments on the “test of opinion” carried out among residents, and the financial analysis of the regeneration scheme.
Further reading: Overview and Scrutiny Committee decision on Cressingham Gardens – posted by Pauline Foster on August 12, 2015 Lambeth.gov estate regeneration
And on the News From Crystal Palace website:
CRESSINGHAM GARDENS: LAMBETH PLAN ‘LESSONS LEARNED’ EXERCISE – BUT WILL THAT ONLY BE AFTER ESTATE HAS BEEN DEMOLISHED? June 10, 2016
CRESSINGHAM: “WHY WE DIDN’T RESPOND TO THE PEOPLE’S PLAN” – Lambeth’s barmiest (and most outrageous) ‘excuses’ yet – May 11, 2016
CRESSINGHAM: THE QUESTIONS FROM CLLR AINSLIE WHICH LAMBETH COUNCIL DIDN’T ANSWER – May 11, 2016
CRESSINGHAM: HOW TO MANAGE THE LOCAL LAMBETH NEWS – May 11, 2016
MOTION OF ‘NO CONFIDENCE’ IN COUNCIL PASSED UNANIMOUSLY – Cabinet decision on Cressingham demolition “null and void” say campaigners – March 25, 2016