Cabinet Member for Planning, Investment & New Homes: Councillor Matthew Bennett
Sue Foster: Strategic Director for Neighbourhoods and Growth
Contact: Jed Young, Assistant Director, Housing Regeneration, Strategic Programmes, JYoung1@lambeth.gov.uk
The Cabinet Member for Planning, Investment and New Homes, Councillor Matthew Bennett, introduced the item noting that the compulsory purchase order was required as a backstop for the Westbury Estate. This followed planning permission for the 64 new homes at council rent, did not require any immediate relocation of residents, and the report set out timetables and residents’ preferences.
Cabinet heard from Shemi Leira, Westbury resident and Chair of the Tenants Residents Association; Councillor Pete Elliott, Green councillor for Gipsy Hill ward; and, Councillor Tim Briggs, Conservative councillor for Clapham Common, who raised the following points:
· the regeneration programme was causing significant emotional distress to residents, which had been intrusive to residents’ family and finances, and more needed to be done to protect their wellbeing;
· the proposals were not in the public interest, were disproportionate and appeared inconsistent with duties of the Equality Act 2010, EU Human Right Act 1998, Land Compensation Act 1973 and MHCLG guidance on regeneration;
· the regeneration process was substantially and procedurally unfair and unjust as it was driven by Lambeth and was a manifest conflict of interest;
· the Labour manifesto pledge to build 1,000 council homes by 2018 had not been met and this many council homes had actually been lost;
· residents were being removed from homes they purchased in good faith and were being threatened with CPOs;
· it was queried how many housing waiting list places would be met by regeneration;
· more information was needed on EQIA monitoring and that these review broader impacts on residents, many of whom had protected characteristics;
· the carbon release from proposals and its recovery was queried;
· the impact on air quality of these schemes was raised and it was requested that thorough monitoring before, during and after works be implemented;
· the 29,000 housing waiting list figure was questioned, but had been increasing since January 2013;
· the CPO report did not cover all issues, lacked full consultation and representation from residents, and had unclear sources of funding and key guarantees;
· there was a lack and lower than current provision of parking spaces, which restricted social mobility, meant that only healthy persons could afford to live on the estate, and would increase parking stress; and,
· the plans were too dense, tall, lacked light and free movement of air, with overlooking properties and would not stand the test of time.
The Leader of the Council, Councillor Lib Peck, thanked representations, noting the importance of preventative measures and the need to build homes to house Lambeth’s population. She noted that she regularly visited estates and residents were suffering from illnesses, such as asthma, arising from damp conditions and poor housing. The Labour Group were committed to ensure safe, secure and warm properties and residents deserved high-quality homes at affordable prices.
Greg Carson, Principal Lawyer for Housing Property & Planning; and, Jed Young, Assistant Director for Housing Regeneration, responded to questions as below:
· local authorities had to balance rights, but recognised regeneration interfered with people’s lives;
· the proposals were subject to independent analysis by ... view the full minutes text for item 8