CENTRAL HILL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT BOMBSHELL: HUGE TOWER BLOCKS – AND HALF NEW HOMES WILL BE SOLD OFF ON OPEN MARKET
HUGE six-storey tower blocks are to built on Central Hill estate after its demolition – with HALF the new homes sold off on the open market.
The shock news – given to the annual meeting of Central Hill tenants and residents association – makes a mockery of Lambeth council’s claims they need to demolish six council estates across the borough and build more homes on them to help solve the borough’s homeless problems.
Nicola Curtis, who was re-elected TRA secretary at the meeting, said: “They are going to sell half the estate on the open market. “We’ve seen numbers of 1,200 and 1,500 homes. “The majority of them will be flats. “The work will take 10 to 15 years.”
Karen Bennett, who chairs the association, said there would be six-storey blocks built on the new estate of 1,500 homes, 700 of which will be put up for sale.
Nicola Curtis told the meeting: “The majority of homes will be flats.
“To keep your council tenancies you can move wherever you like in Lambeth or can come back into the estate in a flat – higher service charges, higher rents, higher council tax and you will no longer be a secure tenant. “These are your other options.
“Keep a look at what’s happening. “You need to tell Lambeth what you think.”
But she admitted: “It does feel they are not really listening to us.
“They tell us that every tenant and leaseholder they meet are happy to go along with this regeneration. “According to them everyone wants it. “Lambeth have accused us of bullying people into coming to meetings.”
Karen Bennett, who chairs the TRA, said: “They are trying to say we are the only ones who don’t want this estate to come down.”
Nicola had earlier told the meeting: “In one year we’ve had eight different dates for a cabinet decision. “They have played us like a cat with a mouse.
“For the past 18 months we’ve been working with Lambeth on regenerating the estate. “We’ve put in so many hours, so much stress. “I know you all want answers. “We’ve been arguing with the council for a year just to get guarantees for the residents in place.
“I wouldn’t say anything is in place. “Everything has been changed at the last minute.
“Lambeth will be going into formal consultation in the next few weeks with a decision this side or the other side of Christmas. “”The council will decide how many homes will be built.
“All the things they showed you about refurbishment and building on empty sites – it’s only demolition left.
“In the new paperwork we received a few weeks ago they have taken away refurbishment and infilling but they have brought back in ‘do nothing’ which they told us wasn’t an option. “Some time after Christmas we’ll get the demolition order.
“There’s a slim chance they may leave us alone – but that’s a very slim chance. “It’s one of five options – the other four are all demolition.
“Your homes are below standard and they have by law to be brought up to standard. “They said ‘We can’t get enough houses on spaces to make enough money to refurbish our homes’. “It will cost £18.5 million and they cannot afford it.
“The Aylesbury decision* has had an impact on the process but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. “They intend to redevelop the site.”There are no key guarantees.
“We’ve all had enough. “Because we’re in the regeneration we’re not getting refurbished, we’re not getting new kitchens or bathrooms but the council still have day to day repairs. “They should still be doing them. “The major stuff isn’t going to get done.”
But vacated homes on the estate are having asbestos removed and are being refurbished
before new people move in, she added.
Among comments from the floor one lady said a lot of people in the three-bedroom houses on the estates would not move into a flat. One gentleman in the audience said: “How can you put a point across to a lot of glamour people telling lies?”
Issues: The meeting also heard complaints of broken lights, timers, stolen fencing, people living on the estate having to pay for fly-tipping by outsiders, vandalism and that one of the estate’s two surveillance cameras had been moved to Hawke Road. On a brighter note, Central Hill estate now has its very own owl.
*Aylesbury: “LEASEHOLDERS HUMAN RIGHTS BREACHED” SAYS PLANNING INSPECTOR – decision could impact on ‘Homes for Lambeth’ and Croydon ‘Brick by Brick’ schemes – News From Crystal Palace September 23rd 2016
Further reading: “Homes for Lambeth”: Lambeth’s SPV to build more and better homes press release posted by Lambeth council October 13, 2015 (search: lambeth.gov press releases)