CRESSINGHAM – OTHER POINTS FROM THE PEOPLE’S PLAN:
The People’s Plan proposes a full refurbishment and build programme that can be funded by a range of options from fully council to fully external. “TPP improves the condition and keeps people in the homes that they love, while supporting both the longevity of the current thriving community and existing housing stock.
“It is a powerful ethical, environmental and financially viable alternative to the council’s proposed redevelopment options, which are not the preference of a clear majority of residents .
“The People’s Plan can demonstrably meet the criteria as set out by council officers 17th February 2016, comparing extremely favourably with all of the council’s options and exceeding them in respect of meeting the criteria. “A survey of residents between 5th-13th July, with a household response rate of 72pc, showed that 86pc of residents wanted refurbishment and only 4pc wanted demolition.”
COUNCIL TAX BANDS
Experience on Myatts Field North has shown that the council tax band will be higher for the new properties and that residents will be required to pay up to £500 more year for council tax. (Cressingham Gardens properties are currently only Band B for council tax).
Cressingham Gardens leaseholders benefit from some of the lowest service charges in Lambeth due to the design of the estate. It is highly likely that service charges will increase under Option 5 because of the necessary design required to increase density.
We have requested data on the expected maintenance costs to understand the likely impact on leaseholder service charges, but the request has been refused by Lambeth officers.
Furthermore, under Shared Equity leaseholders will be required to pay 100pc of service charges and all internal works although they don’t own 100% of the property.
Consideration must be made for the fact that households will be placed on water meters, which will put even further financial burdens on families and vulnerable residents.
Lambeth officers have argued that the increase in costs will be offset by a reduction in utility bills. Feedback from residents is showing that their gas and electricity bills are approximately in the range of £50-£110 per month.
Even if these bills were reduced by 50pc, it would not offset the increase in council rent and council tax. In summary, The People’s Plan has no financial impact on council tenants, whereas the council’s proposed Option 5 will see tenants pushed further into poverty with increased housing costs.
UNDERGROUND CAR PARK
Undercover Car Park Conversion: By repurposing the undercover car parking space, 23 additional homes can be created, in a manner similar to what London borough of Islington’s Labour council have successfully undertaken. Islington’s project was completed to the satisfaction of both residents and the council on Parkhurst Road and Vulcan Way resulting in 18 and 17 new homes respectively.
We are already in conversation with a number of funding organisations who are in the position to finance a community-owned structure, as was stated in the executive summary of TPP submitted February 19th 2016. In response to Lambeth officers stating that ‘no proof of additional funding had been provided’ at the subsequent February 25th 2016 exhibition, we are willing to disclose the proof of these commercially sensitive discussions via an independent and neutral third party.
In order that TPP and all council options are assessed under the same criteria, this fund should also be available to all TPP options under the same terms. Though even without this fund TPP is still financially viable.
TED HOLLAMBY (designer of Cressingham Gardens and co-designer of Central Hill estate Crystal Palace)
“It is difficult to say that Cressingham is one of the best in a Lambeth context or in a Greater London context as we have insufficient information on Hollamby’s work to allow proper assessment” – Lambeth council comment contained in English Heritage report May 2014 which forms part of The People’s Plan document.
“When the Lambeth housing committee approved the development of Cressingham Gardens in January 1969, it was unusually noted in the minutes that congratulations were conveyed to the officers on a bold and imaginative scheme and was the only new estate that was accorded its own press release (copy of which still exists in the V&A museum).”