“DEMOLISHING ESTATE WOULD COST £100 MILLION – AND MORE” – Shock report highlights major discrepancies in Lambeth’s case for Cressingham Gardens
“There is an apparent subtext which suggests that the enterprise is motivated by financial liquidity rather than the stated, albeit regularly morphing, aims.”
(or: What Cressingham Gardens gets today, Central Hill estate gets tomorrow – part one)
Demolishing the Cressingham Gardens estate close to Brockwell park would land Lambeth council taxpayers with a bill of more than £100 million, says a shock report.
The estate is one of several under threat from Lambeth council’s so-called ‘regeneration’ plans – others include the Central Hill estate in Crystal Palace.
The report says the Net Present Value of the Cressingham Gardens project would be MINUS £20 million over 60 years – and MINUS £30 million over 30 years.
Many millions pounds of costs for ‘already foreseeable’ items have NOT been accounted for in option 5 – the council’s favoured full demolition proposal for the estate close to Brockwell park – which would ALSO involve compulsorily purchasing private homes in nearby Trinity Rise and Parkview Court on Tulse Hill.*
And just a five per cent increase in costs would cause the project – under the council’s assumptions – to be loss making and not financially viable EVEN AFTER 60 years.
In a series of damning indictments The People’s Plan – put together by residents of Cressingham Gardens estate with technical support from a team of local expert architects, viability consultants and surveyors, as well as industry professionals from further afield – says:
- the council’s latest scheme no longer appears to prioritise council housing
- any mention of net gains at council rent levels appears to have disappeared
- new rents on a rebuilt Cressingham Gardens estate would be nearer to those of Knightsbridge and Pimlico
- There has been a marked change in emphasis from providing council rent housing, in favour of simple densification
- Central government says it will not tolerate SPVs (special purpose vehicles) set up in order to avoid the housing revenue account or to remove the Right-to-Buy (the council plans to set up a private company called Homes for Lambeth)
- NO full financial cash flow model of the ‘Option 5’ (total demolition) plans have been provided by Lambeth council for review, plus
- Most of the costs for the ‘Option 5’ model have been redacted in the financial datasheets.
- Many millions of costs for already foreseeable items have not been accounted for in Lambeth’s Option 5 financial assessment.
- Lambeth council officers have refused requests for expected maintenance costs for leaseholders on any rebuilt Cressingham Gardens
- Option 5 densities build on the Brockwell Park conservation area and require compulsory purchase of adjacent private homes on Tulse Hill and Trinity Rise.Lambeth council officers and councillors have explained to residents that the use of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) – Homes for Lambeth(a private company) – is required for Option 5 in order to remove certain secure tenants rights – in particular the Right to Buy – and to be able to borrow further funds not subject to the HRA (housing revenue account) debt cap.MISSING COSTS
Many millions of costs for already foreseeable items have not been accounted for in Lambeth’s Option 5 financial assessment, says the report. These include:
- Dealing with the invasive weed that is present across the entire estate (For the same invasive weed to be removed from the Olympic Park Stadium development site, approx the same size as Cressingham Gardens, it cost reportedly £70m)
- Dealing with the water main that passes through Cressingham Garden that is older than the estate itself
- External and drainage works
- Waste management
- Car parking provision
- Building a new community hall to replace the Rotunda
- Ongoing repairs & maintenance (it could be argued that there will be minimal repairs in the early years of a new build, but there still will be grounds maintenance and cleaning, and it cannot be argued that no repairs and maintenance would be required for 60 years, says the report.)(Note: *One flat recently on the market at Parkview or Park View Court (spellings vary) had a price tag of £450,000 – NFCP)