Cabinet Member for Housing
Strategic Director, Delivery
Contact: Neil Vokes, Head of Performance, Enabling
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0207 926 3068
The Cabinet Member for Housing introduced the report as an update on estate regeneration, started in 2012 alongside the Lambeth Housing Standard (LHS – Lambeth’s decent homes programme) and costed at that time. However, there was now a shortfall of £56 million and the Council was committed to 1,000 extra homes each year. The report contained different plans for each estate, as detailed in the report’s appendices, and sought authorisation on procurement of a development management team and feasibility work, and to commit officers to work with residents. The Cabinet Member stated there were 21,000 people on the waiting list for a council home; and severe overcrowding, especially for those with children and/or disabilities, remained a poignant issue.
Cabinet heard the following representations from the public:
· Members of the public stated their awareness that housing was an issue that needed a solution, but were concerned about its execution; with no consultation prior to December 2014’s decision, conflicting information, and poor communication by the Council. The resulting effect was that residents felt excluded from the debate or that it had been manipulated, with trust cited as poor. Meetings with Council officers were said to have been refused, arranged at short notice or cancelled at extremely short notice; and the treatment of residents were raised as issues. Overall, it was causing anxiety and confusion amongst residents, especially the elderly; with one representation saying it amounted to a form of anti-social behaviour by the Council.
· Further questions were raised over the maintenance of properties and lack of repairs prior to the consultation, the planned number of houses compared to the disruption that would be caused; which highlighted immorality and a lack of decency from the Council. Leaseholders’ mortgages, insecurity over tenancies, the special purpose vehicle (SPV), construction, and significant delays were further raised. There were claims that there had been no independent housing adviser or architect, and a pause and review for full resident involvement was requested.
· The Vice-Chair of Knight’s Walk Group Residents Association commented that they were not opposed to regeneration or extra build on the estates, but did not want to see full demolition. The Chair of Central Hill Estate commented that the Council was selling off assets due to budgetary constraints, however, these were not only properties, but homes and the Council were disrupting communities for insufficient reason and requested that extra council and truly affordable housing be guaranteed.
· Concerns were also raised over the consultation, with representations saying it had been flawed and used leading questions, with answers used to justify demolition. Plans had not been considered fully and tthere had been an overall lack of transparency and meaningful consultation, with many representations questioning the intentions of the Council. The significance of the estates’ architecture and the communities’ social value were also raised.
The Leader of the Council reiterated that claims of gentrification were unfounded and that there was no point in proceeding with only a marginal increase in council housing, with the Council re-providing for existing tenants ... view the full minutes text for item 3