Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, published his purported “Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration” for consultation. The residents feel that the document fell far short from its lofty title. The following was submitted today to the Mayor of London:
Recommendations to the Mayor of London
- No discrimination against estates Guidelines to be applied to all residential regeneration and not just estate regeneration. Estates should not be singled out and discriminated against for regeneration compared to other residential areas.
- No increase in local housing costs Regeneration requiring enforced removal of residents from their homes to make way for redevelopment must not result in higher local housing costs.
- Full disclosure & transparency There must be full disclosure and transparency during the process in a timely manner. “Commercial sensitivity” not to be used as an excuse not to disclose.
- Evidence & fact based All claims made by local authorities/developers to be supported by evidence and facts that are to be made available for scrutiny by residents.
- Viability to include full impact on residents Viability/options assessments must include the full impact on residents. That is, viability/options assessments should not just consider the viability from a local authority/developer perspective, but also the full costs and benefits to the residents impacted
- Conclusive & binding ballot There must be a conclusive and binding ballot of residents held prior to the regeneration being approved and/or planning permission being sought, whichever is the earliest date. The ballot and materials to be written and carried out by an independent organisation. The materials accompanying the ballot must present all the relevant facts including funding, tenure rights, RTB etc. Any subsequent approval to be deemed revoked if it later transpires that any significant element has changed or been withdrawn.
- No worse off Existing residents should not be worse off in any manner – financially, quality of housing, access to local services, career/education impacts etc
- Honest timetables Realistic and honest timetables must be published. Changes to the timetable must be the exception and where it occurs must be robustly argued why the change is necessary.
- Enforcement mechansisms There must be a mechanism to enforce the guidelines and provide an effective and cost-free route for residents to complain and seek redress if there is a breach of the guidelines. An independent body should be authorised to determine if all options have been exhausted.
- Remove councils’ conflicts of interests If the local authority is either the landlord or a partner in the regeneration beyond its general role as a local authority, then a different organisation should be required to consider any planning application in order to avoid all conflicts of interest.
- People’s Plans to be supported If residents would like to create their own alternative ‘People’s Plan,’ financial support to be provided to the same level as budgeted by the landlord/developer to develop their proposal. The financial support is to allow residents to engage their own technical experts.
- Retain community The landlord must aim to retain at least 80% of the community, otherwise a punitive fine is payable. It is insufficient to say that residents have ‘opportunities’ to stay, when in fact what is being offered is so unattractive very little of the community is retained.
- No loss of legal rights Returning residents must as a minimum have no loss of legal rights, irrespective of their legal tenure
- Private rental residents to be protected If a private rental household has lived for more than 2 years on an estate and their homes is to be demolished, the council must be required at a minimum to ensure adequate rehousing at same rental level in the same area. If the household is eligible for social housing, then an appropriate social home to be provided under any regeneration program with full legal rights for the tenure.
- Temporary accommodation households to be converted to secure tenancies If a household is living for more than 1 year in a home converted to temporary accommodation due to a proposed demolition/regeneration program, the tenancy to be automatically converted to a secure council tenancy.
[Signed by 75 residents]