Resident Tom managed to secure 3 mins to speak at the Lambeth Cabinet meeting on 13th July 2015. This is his speech…
I’m a resident of Cressingham Gardens Estate and do not want want my home, or that of my neighbours demolished.This has been a message that has been consistently communicated by over 80% of residents. In light of this, I have four major concerns with Lambeth’s proposals to demolish Cressingham Gardens estate relating to:
1. Financial Assessment.
2. Weather tight repairs.
3. Housing shortages.
4. Architectural importance.
Point 1: Financial analysis
The report is riddled with contradictory statements alongside a non-committal positions and hides key details within supporting documents. For example, Page 21 of the “draft viability report” in Annex E states “The financial model has been prepared with limited information” and that “Indicated finance costs will not be accurate”. Yet the second page of the main report states “the underlying financial assumptions are correct” which contradicts these supporting documents.
Past financial assumptions about Cressingham Gardens have frequently proven to be inaccurate. An independent surveyor, commissioned by Cressingham Gardens residents, indicated that costs for refurbishment had been inflated by up to 7 million pounds. This major concern has not been expanded upon in the report in any depth.
Rather than Cressingham Gardens having major structural issues, as had been repeatedly communicated by the council, a commissioned survey indicated that problems on the estate were primarily due lack of maintenance and neglect.
In light of these past questionable assumptions, of which there have been many more, It is vitally important that residents and the general public are provided with full financial models so they are able to properly interrogate figures, and are able compare costings of the various options as was promised (but not delivered) to residents over these past few months.
Point 2: Weathertight repairs
£1.4 million is about to be spent on repairs to the estate and it seems the majority of pathways are currently being replaced. It seems incompetent and it lacking in any business acumen, to repair, spend this money then demolish the entire estate.
Point 3: Housing shortages
I do not believe that this demolition would address Lambeth’s housing shortage in any significant way. The reports own viability analysis states Lambeth will not meet their targets “the Council’s aspirational target of 60% at council rent and 40% at private rent would not be met”(p.3 Equality Impact Assessment). The report also states that just 23 extra homes at council rents will be provided (p.2 Equality Impact Assessment Report), which is laughable. More worryingly, it also highlights that “potential living cost increases arising from the regeneration, such as rent increases and service charge changes” (Paragraph 7.3 from main report) making this part of Lambeth even less affordable.
Point 4: Architectural importance
The 20th Century Society have recommended this estate for listed status. English Heritage have recommended that it be designated a conservation area. SAVE Britain’s Heritage have communicated a “very strong objection to the proposals” and are poised for a full public enquiry. And Lambeth’s own conservation officers are due to complete a heritage assessment this year, I implore you – Let them do their job.
Residents want to work with the council, to collaborate to create something we can all be proud of. The proposal as it stands is a travesty and an embarrassment.