Photo courtesy Architects for Social Housing
LAMBETH HOUSING SCANDAL* – ONE: CENTRAL HILL ESTATE RENTS SHOCKER
Tenants forced out of their homes on the Central Hill estate if Lambeth council go ahead with its demolition plans face rent increases of up to 25 per cent – if they are ever allowed to return.
Monthly rents for a one-bedroom flat will go up by 23 per cent from £412 to £507.
For a two-bedroom flat the increase would be 25pc – £468 up to £585
Fora three-bedroom flat the increase would be 16 per cent – £537 up to £624
and for a four-bedroom flat 10 per cent – £624 up to £685
News of what residents would be paying should they move back onto the estate drew gasps from among the 120-plus people attending an Architects for Social Housing (ASH) presentation at the Goodliffe hall, Highland Road on Saturday afternoon – a presentation which quickly turned into a public meeting.
As previously reported Lambeth’s own surveyor has estimated the cost of refurbishment of the estate at £18.5 million. In contrast, the cost of rebuilding the existing homes, without adding a single additional unit, has been estimated by one of Lambeth’s own regeneration architects at around £120 million. (News From Crystal Palace February 19th)
At the meeting ASH outlined their own plans for the estate – plans which they say could see 250 homes built on the estate without any of the existing properties being demolished.
Simon Elmer of ASH said they only had one principle: they did not break up communities on the estates they were working on.
“That seems to be left out of every single regeneration plan across England. “There’s lots of room on the estate.
“Lambeth say they can’t afford to refurbish the estate. “They say costs to refurbish are prohibitive but they don’t say what makes them prohibitive.”
If Lambeth can’t afford £18.5 million to refurbish the estate, how could they afford £120 million to demolish it and rebuild?, he asked. “They are lying to you.”
Lambeth had given questionnaires with tick boxes to respond. ASH gave people blank boxes to fill in. “We’ve had an amazing response – things we hadn’t thought of ourselves were suggested.”
He said Lambeth have an economic model of how it was going to redevelop the Cresswell Gardens estate next to Brockwell park in Herne Hill – one of NINE** estates where Lambeth have redevelopment plans.
“Lambeth council are setting up an HFL (Homes for Lambeth) which would be a separate legal entity but would be fully owned by Lambeth council.
“But the model they have set up makes it impossible to engage in refurbishment and infilling. “They have set up a model which is designed for one thing: demolition of the estate.
“And we have been told the option for infilling and refurbishment has been taken off the table.
“If HFL precludes refurbishment it indicates HFL is the wrong model – not only for Central Hill but for all Lambeth regeneration schemes.”
Tenants returning to new homes on a rebuilt Central Hill estate would also find their rights had changed, he warned.
He said a lady resident from Cressingham Gardens had highlighted what would happen.
Under the current secure lease tenants have a whole bunch of rights. “If you die your spouse, or any family member, can succeed to the tenancy.
“You have the right to repair and make improvements, the right to consultation, the right to buy.”
“Under an assured tenancy (Housing Act 1988) you would have only one right – that your spouse could take over the tenancy but not your children – and no other rights.”
Mr Elmer said they had planned to put their display up alongside the demolition plans of Lambeth’s architects PRP at a meeting planned for the same day.
“PRP architects were finally ready after nine months to present their proposals” said Mr Elmer. But then heard that PRP were “not ready to present.”
ASH had been unable to use the venue PRP were going to use – the community hall on Central Hill estate. Thanking The Rev Jonathan Croucher for allowing them to use the Goodliffe hall, Mr Elmer said: “We think that had something to do with the fact we were going to do this.
“We were then asked by Lambeth to present our proposals at a meeting with the steering committee and Lambeth councillors behind closed doors.”
The steering committee – which includes the chair of the residents association – has not been given materials to talk about with residents or to communicate with residents, he said.
“Information has been held back by Lambeth council until the last minute.”
One Lambeth council officer attended Saturday’s event. There were no Lambeth councillors – not even Cllr Matthew Bennett, member for Gipsy Hill ward in which Central Hill estate stands and chairman of Lambeth’s housing committee.
But the meeting heard that Cllr Bennett WILL be attending a meeting of Gipsy Hill ward Labour party in the ward on March 3rd to talk about Lambeth’s housing policy – venue to be announced………
*Dictionary definitions of ‘scandal’: An action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage; A state of affairs regarded as wrong or reprehensible and causing general public outrage or anger Source: Oxford Dictionaries)
**THE original six estates are: Central Hill; Cressingham Gardens; Fenwick estate, Clapham; Knight’s Walk, Lambeth; South Lambeth estate, Stockwell and Westbury, South Lambeth. NFCP are trying to establish the names of the three new estates added to the list.
Central Hill Regeneration – WhatDoTheyKnow. Central Hill Regeneration – Victor Hernandez made this Freedom of Information request to Lambeth Borough Council……
BDonline.co.uk: PRP to redevelop low-rise 1970s estate 10 December 2014 by Elizabeth Hopkirk
Latest plans to provide more and better homes on Lambeth estates press release posted by Lambeth Council ⋅ October 30, 2015