CRESSINGHAM: “WHY WE DIDN’T RESPOND TO THE PEOPLE’S PLAN” – Lambeth’s barmiest (and most outrageous) ‘excuses’ yet
Lambeth council officers have come up with one of the barmiest – and most outrageous – excuses ever made as to why they did not ask clarifying questions on ‘The People’s Plan’ – a report written by people living on Cressingham Gardens estate near Brockwell park which could have seen their estate refurbished rather than demolished in its entirety:
“No clarifying questions were asked as the residents involved in the People’s Plan chose to submit the plan on the final day of the consultation, thereby not allowing any time within the formal consultation period for any further discussions to take place.
“The council are not responsible for the decision to submit the full People’s Plan on the last day of the consultation.
“The council have to follow the legal process set out at the start of the consultation, without deviation, as established by the High Court. “To deviate from this process would open the door to a judicial review and create unnecessary uncertainty for residents.”
The officers comments came in a report to Lambeth’s overview and scrutiny committee meeting held to hear a request from Green party Cllr Scott Ainslie to ‘call in’ the cabinet report which voted to demolish the Cressingham Gardens estate, which sits between Tulse Hill and Brockwell park.
But when people living on Cressingham Gardens were given the council’s own financial statement they were given just ONE NIGHT to respond, he told the meeting..
“Cressingham residents are already busy trying to put food on their tables. “You give them one night to respond. “Is this acceptable?” Cllr Ainslie asked the at-times stormy meeting held in a health centre off Clapham Road, Stockwell.
“This report refers to ‘the so-called People’s Plan’. “That is disrespectful, arrogant, and disgraceful in terms of the council riding roughshod.”
Cressingham resident Maria Wagboso said she was a carer with two vulnerable adults. “I can’t even put them to bed. “I have to look at financial reports. “I asked someone else to look at them for me – it took them two weeks.”
Committee chairman Cllr Ed Davie said he “could understand why it was branded ‘The People’s Plan’ but there’s no evidence on it. “100 feedback forms would have a diverse range of views” he argued.
Cressingham resident Gerlande Gniewosz responded that last year they had consulted 72 per cent of households on the estate. 80 per cent wanted refurbishment, four pc demolition, four pc wanted to move away and the rest weren’t quite sure. “That’s a very clear mandate” she added.
Lambeth council’s assistant director housing regeneration Neil Vokes admitted: “We didn’t go into great detail of the financial side of what The People’s Plan submitted to us.”.
Cllr Davie said: “If we are asking residents to participate in the consultation process they need information in good time. “A number of residents said that on the financial data they only had a small period of time to consider it.”
Julian Hart, estate regeneration programme manager, referring to “factual inaccuracies” said the financial data had been issued on Sunday 14th (no month given). A financial workshop had been held on the 18th with a deadline on the 19th and, in agreement with residents, extended to the 20th ”
Cllr Davie – asked why the option of referring the cabinet decision back to full council was not included – said this was not available “because we’ve received legal advice.”
By a majority the committee referred the item back to cabinet for various matters to be considered. What these various matters turn out to be people will have to wait and see.
NOTE: Elsewhere in the reports to committee:
“Despite the submission of the People’s Plan on the last day of the consultation, the viability of the People’s Plan has been analysed in the same way as the other regeneration options considered within the Cabinet report; having received earlier information about the key components of the People’s Plan…..
The council asked for all feedback which required a response to be submitted by the 19 February 2016. The residents involved in the People’s Plan chose to submit the final version of the plan on the final day of the consultation, the 4 March, thereby not allowing any time within the formal consultation period for these discussions to take place. The council honoured the process by analysing the People’s Plan as it had agreed to.”