STORM OVER ‘KEY GUARANTEES’ LETTER TO LAMBETH COUNCIL ESTATES RESIDENTS
Controversial housing chief Cllr Matthew Bennett WAS within his rights to send letters to people living on two estates – including Central Hill – which Lambeth council have decided to demolish.
Lambeth’s Conservative opposition leader Cllr Tim Briggs wrote to a senior council officer calling for an immediate investigation as to why the letter from Cllr Bennett – Lambeth’s cabinet member for housing – had been delivered by Lambeth Housing; how many properties it has been delivered to, and on which estates, arguing it was a clear breach of the law.
But Lambeth’s head of legal services Alison McKane has told Cllr Briggs: “Lambeth council’s cabinet made a decision back in March 2016 to implement a set of key guarantees pending any improvement to the key guarantees through further consultation with residents.
“You have ‘called in’ the decision to approve the key guarantees which have been revised following the consultation process.
“Whilst I agree that the council should not proceed with the implementation of the programme of guarantees as set out in the cabinet decision dated 23 March 2017 until after such time as the decision has been considered by Lambeth council’s overview and scrutiny committee I do not consider there is any reason why Cllr Bennett cannot write to all residents to update them about the decision that has been taken.
“The legislation states that when a decision is called in, the decision cannot be implemented until after such time as the decision has been considered by overview and scrutiny but there is nothing to prevent the council from informing residents that a decision has been taken.
“Indeed this would seem appropriate given the high level of interest from residents in the matter of the key guarantees.”
Cllr Briggs, who ‘called in’ the decision to demolish Central Hill estate made at a stormy cabinet meeting last month, says council officers are not permitted to act upon any cabinet decisions during a call-in period.
In emails to Alison McKane, Cllr Briggs says the letters have also been delivered to residents living on the Cressingham Gardens estate in Tulse Hill (which Lambeth council also want to demolish along with Fenwick, Knights Walk, South Lambeth and Westbury estates.)
Cllr Briggs says that Cllr Bennett’s letter refers to ‘key guarantees’. But as News From Crystal Palace has previously reported, (March 24th and March 29th) at the same cabinet meeting at which the decision to demolish Central Hill was taken, the cabinet changed many ‘key guarantees’ previously given to residents and tenants to ‘principles’.
Cllr Briggs says: “These key guarantees are not even referred to as guarantees any more, but ‘principles’, so residents being misled further, with no mention of ‘principles’ in this letter.”
Likely date for the call-in on the estate demolition to be heard by the overview and scrutiny committee: Wednesday May 3rd 7pm. Venue: Bolney Meadow Community Centre, 31 Bolney St, London SW8 1EZ – the same location where the cabinet decision to demolish Central Hill was taken.
Cllr Briggs has also ‘called in’ the cabinet decision on key guarantees made at the same meeting. The agenda for the May 3rd meeting will be available at lambeth.gov meetings a week beforehand.
Further reading (all on this website):
LAMBETH’S KEY GUARANTEES: DECIDE FOR YOURSELF – ONE March 29, 2017
LAMBETH’S KEY GUARANTEES DECIDE FOR YOURSELF – TWO March 29, 2017
CABINET DECISION ON CENTRAL HILL – VIEW FROM THE GALLERY March 24, 2017