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Javid drops opposition to Aylesbury Estate compulsory purchase order

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Communities secretary Sajid Javid has backed down in a dispute over a controversial compulsory purchase order (CPO) bid by Southwark Council, allowing it to press ahead with its Aylesbury Estate regeneration plans

In September Javid rejected the CPO request for part of the south London 1960s estate. He argued that it would breach the residents’ human rights because the money the council was offering for their homes was not enough for them to buy similar properties in the area.

In response Southwark Council launched a High Court action against Javid’s decision – a judicial review scheduled to be held today [9 May].

However the Javid has now said he will not contest Southwark Council’s legal challenge.

His backtrack effectively paves the way for the council to move ahead with its contentious redevelopment plans – although the authority will have to re-apply for a CPO. This will also need to be approved by the communities secretary.

If approved, the order will allow the council to buy the eight properties, which are occupied by long-term leaseholders reluctant to leave the estate, clearing the path for way for work to begin on the so-called ‘first development site’: 830 homes designed by HTA Design. 

The number of leaseholders affected recently was recently reduced from eight to seven, after one leaseholder accepted the council’s offer for their home.

The council has said that, following the rejection of its original CPO bid, it has ‘continued to make further better offers’ to the leaseholders.

Southwark Council leader Peter John said: ‘We are really pleased that the secretary of state has quashed his previous decision, and will now allow us to hold a new CPO inquiry. We remain committed to regenerating the Aylesbury Estate for the benefit of local residents.’

The overall masterplan for estate, for which HTA Design is the lead architect, provides for 3,500 homes and won outline planning permission in April last year.

While the total number of homes will increase by 1,225 – amounting to an extra 6,014 habitable rooms – the number of homes for social rent will decrease by 778, equivalent to 1,323 habitable rooms. 

Aylesbury, one of the largest housing estates in Europe, was built between 1963 and 1977 on a 28.5ha site near Elephant & Castle, and designed by Derek Winch of Southwark Council’s architects’ department. Its 2,759 flats were housed in long slab blocks between four and 14 storeys high.

In 1997, Tony Blair made his first speech as prime minister on the estate, to demonstrate his commitment to improving life for the poorest in society.

Aylesbury Estate masterplan showing net change of total number of homes

HR = Habitable rooms

Estate baseline

(HR 6,887)

(HR 6,887)
(HR 1,773)
(HR 8,660)
Early phases (L&Q) 148
(HR 541)
(HR 703)
(HR 591)
(HR 1,294)
NHH proposed FDS
and masterplan
(HR 5,023)
(HR 6,641)
(HR 6,739)
(HR 13,380)
Net change -778
(HR -1,323)
(HR +457)
(HR +5,557)
(HR +6,014)

Source: Aylesbury Now

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