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Barnet estate residents vote for Pozzoni’s demolition plan in first London ballot

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Residents in north London have voted in favour of Pozzoni Architects’ plans in the first estate regeneration ballot carried out under Sadiq Khan’s new rules

Nearly three quarters of residents at the Westhorpe Gardens and Mills Grove Estate, in Barnet, voted ‘yes’ to housing association Metropolitan and Thames Valley’s (MTVH) proposals to overhaul their homes. 

The new plans include the demolition and replacement of all existing 102 social rent homes, with an additional 150 homes delivered for affordable rent, shared ownership and homes for the over-55s. 

Of the 108 eligible residents, 71 took part in the vote, which took place between 15 October and 5 November, following a consultation.

In July this year, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan introduced a new policy requiring all major estate regeneration schemes to have a ‘yes’ vote from residents in order to receive City Hall funding.

The ballot policy, introduced in London after 88 per cent of respondents to a consultation backed the move, is only required on estates where the demolition of 150 or more council homes is proposed. 

MTVH said refurbishing the existing estate, which was built in the 1970s, would have required ‘significant investment’ to bring the properties up to standard.

Geeta Nanda, chief executive of Metropolitan Thames Valley, said: ’We are delighted that the majority of residents voted ‘yes’ and put their trust in us to place them at the heart of our proposals for the renewal of their estate. We have secured not only their consent, but their input too, following extensive consultation.’

James Murray, deputy mayor for housing said: ’The Mayor wants Londoners who live on estates to have a real say when regeneration is planned for where they live, which is why he has put ballots at the heart of his approach to estate regeneration.’

MTVH said it will be submitting a planning application to Barnet Council in the coming months.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Clare Richards

    Let’s not underestimate the milestone this represents. Ballots acknowledge the value to communities of self-determination and the evidence suggests that autonomy builds resources of mutual support and collective action, which in turn help build successful communities. There are a number of thriving estates where the decision to demolish has been taken against the vehement opposition of residents. Take Cressingham Gardens in Lambeth (https://savecressingham.wordpress.com/about/), a well-designed 70s estate on Tulse Hill, overlooking Brockwell Park. Here is a successful, longstanding mixed community with a low crime rate, about to be displaced (with existing residents – whether social renters or owner/occupiers – priced out of the planned new development). And why? Because when redeveloped Lambeth with make a hefty income which, they will assure you, can be ploughed back into more social housing. Even if that claim were true (and where’s the evidence to support it?), it is dangerously short-sighted. It takes decades to build successful communities. These are the places where people stay put, creating those illusive qualities of a sense of identity, inclusion and social capital (precisely the ‘good growth’ that the GLA and New London Plan seek to achieve). We destroy them at our peril. Meanwhile, on the other side of Tulse Hill is one of Lambeth’s failing estates, with high levels of gang-related crime… www.ftwork.co.uk

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