Communities secretary Sajid Javid has quashed a request for a compulsory purchase order that would allow work to start on the regeneration of south London’s Aylesbury Estate
The London Borough of Southwark had applied for an order to buy out leaseholders on the first phase of the redevelopment – for 830 homes designed by HTA Design.
But Javid has backed a planning inspector who said the proposal would breach the residents’ human rights.
Javid’s decision letter said that he ‘considers that the proposed purpose of the order will have considerable economic and social dis-benefits in terms of consequences for those leaseholders remaining on the order land’.
The planning inspector (see full report below) found that the council adopted ‘extremely low valuations’ to compensate leaseholders for their properties because it failed to set aside enough money within its capital programme.
His report said: ‘The average offer to Aylesbury Leaseholder Group is £187,000 whilst a flat on the nearby Camberwell Fields development is £459,000.’
He said that most leaseholders would be forced to leave the area or invest in a new, more expensive property.
‘For elderly residents, who are of an age where they would probably be unable to obtain a mortgage to make up any shortfall and [whose] future earning potential is likely to be limited, using their savings and other investments would severely limit their ability to choose how they spend their retirement and the use to which they put their savings and investments,’ he said.
In addition, black and ethnic minority residents would be likely to be disproportionately affected because they would have less ability to retain cultural ties if they had to move out of the area than white British residents, Javid concluded.
The impact on children’s schooling could harm children’s exam performance and their school reports, according to the decision letter.
Javid also agreed with his inspector that the environmental impact of the scheme was only neutral.
Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration and new homes at Southwark Council, said: ‘This is an extremely disappointing decision by the secretary of state, and the council will be reviewing the detail of the report and the decision before commenting further.
‘We are, however, committed to the regeneration proposals and will continue to negotiate with leaseholders on all phases of the regeneration programme, to buy back their properties and allow the work, which is supported by the vast majority of residents on the estate, to move forward as soon as possible.’
The council voted to grant planning permission for the redevelopment the site and outline planning permission for the remainder of the estate in April 2015. The wider proposals range from low-rise terraces to towers of up to 20 storeys, and feature elements designed by HTA, Mae, Hawkins\Brown and Duggan Morris (see AJ 25.07.16).
The permitted first phase scheme includes the demolition of the existing buildings and redevelopment of the Order Land to provide 830 mixed-tenure dwellings, a flexible community use/early years facility or gym, plus public and private open space.
The existing estate was designed by Hans Peter ‘Felix’ Trenton and completed construction in 1977.
In 1997, Tony Blair made one of his first speeches as prime minister on the Aylesbury Estate, to demonstrate his commitment to improving life for the poorest in society.
Last year, a block on the estate was occupied by a group of housing activists protesting against the demolition of the estate and the gentrification of London.
The regeneration of the estate has also become a rallying point for campaign group Architects for Social Housing (ASH).
HTA was contacted for comment.