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Cressingham Crash - The Fight for Homes Goes On

January 5, 2017 4:37 PM

Residents of Cressingham Gardens remain in fighting mood after losing the latest High Court battle to save the much-loved Tulse Hill estate from Labour Lambeth's bulldozers.

They have vowed to fight on after losing a Judicial Review into the decision by Lambeth to demolish the entire estate.

The residents had challenged the Council for ignoring an option voted on by tenants to restore the estate overlooking Brockwell Park and instead chosing to plough ahead with its proposed demolition and redevelopment.

The council's decision also flies in the face of Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan's London-wide Consultation Guide on Homes For Londoners and Estate Regeneration which suggests demolition only as a last resort.

Lambeth, like many Labour-run councils across London, are waking up to the fact that there is a housing crisis by driving bulldozers through estates that need only modest investment. And this is despite Lambeth receiving the biggest grant in history from the Coalition Government to repair and upgrade the council homes it controls.

Cressingham Gardens critics have rounded on the Labour-run Council saying that their flawed and mismanaged plan would actually make the housing crisis worse because a majority of the homes built would be for the private market although the Council says it would 'aim' to let 27 of the additional 148 flats at council rent levels. However no guarantee has come forward that existing residents would be prioritised for the new homes.

And existing leaseholders would face being driven out completely, being unable to afford the replacement homes.

Lambeth seems hell-bent on replacing much of its publicly-owned housing stock through dodgy deals with developers who will not even declare their profits to councillors on the planning committee so that they can decide on whether the small proportion of homes being offered for rent is justifiable or not.

Lib Dem former councillor Jeremy Clyne won a landmark legal judgement recently (the 'Clyne Decision') at an Information Tribunal which concluded that it was "in the public interest" for developers to fully disclose their viability information including profits.

Labour seems all too ready to sweep the need for decent affordable housing under a carpet that is situated outside Lambeth so that it can rake in the money from the acres of high-rise private properties that are being rushed through its decision-making processes.

Such high-handed actions smack too much of the bulldozer themselves and Lambeth needs to listen far more to the people it claims to represent.