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Southwark Council to fight 'bizarre' Aylesbury CPO ruling

Southwark Council is to challenge the decision blocking the compulsory purchase of eight homes on its Aylesbury Estate, saying the move ’jeopardises’ the entire housing-led regeneration scheme

Last week communities secretary Sajid Javid backed a planning inspector who said the bid to buy out the residents who had previously bought their homes from the London council under the right-to-buy policy would breach their human rights (see documents at bottom).

Javid said that the council had tabled ‘extremely low valuations’ to compensate leaseholders for their properties and quashed a request for a compulsory purchase of the homes earmarked for the demolition as part of the first phase of the redevelopment – 830 homes designed by HTA Design.

However, Southwark Council branded Javid’s decision ‘bizarre’, attacked the government’s inconsistent approach to estate regeneration and warned that the whole scheme could be scuppered by the ruling. 

The authority has threatened to go to the High Court to seek judicial review of the decision if Javid does not rethink the decision, saying that it was unwilling to use any more taxpayers’ money to raise its offer to the remaining residents.

Peter John, leader of Southwark Council, said: ‘This decision puts Southwark and all councils who are trying to build new homes for our residents between a rock and hard place. We can either fight this decision or scrap our plans to regenerate the Aylesbury estate, leaving the hopes and dreams of thousands of local people in tatters. I’m not willing to do that, which is why we will take court action if necessary to try to overturn this bizarre decision.’

 He added: ‘I honestly don’t know what the government’s policy is on estate regeneration any more, as they say one thing and do another. By this decision they are jeopardising plans for 800 new homes for Londoners. Of course the human rights of our residents are important, which is why each of the remaining resident leaseholders has been offered a brand new home in the same area, rent-free, and with a shared equity arrangement which protects the money they’ve saved and invested. I’m afraid that we can’t just keep offering them more and more taxpayers’ money.’

John said that the borough would continue with its regeneration of other parts of the site – a huge estate of about 2,700 homes designed by Hans Peter ‘Felix’ Trenton and completed in 1977 that were ’not affected by this decision.’

Javid’s unexpected ruling on the Aylesbury estate has made national headlines and caused many to look at what the decision could mean for other, similar regeneration schemes.

Although Javid admitted the scheme was viable and would brings economic and social benefits to the south London area, he also raised concerns about what a compulsory purchase order would actually mean for elderly residents and black and ethnic minority residents who ‘would be likely to be disproportionately affected’ because they would have less ability to retain cultural ties if they had to move.

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 scheme has been on the drawing board for a number of years and 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 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.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Peter John's "outrage" would be more understandable if he addressed the actual concerns expressed by the minister and showed how the minister's fears are wrong. For example, that the compensation offered for the CPO properties is outrageously low. No good merely pompously saying he won't spend more of the taxpayers money, that is a non-answer. Were we selling our house to him why should we accept a low offer merely because there is no other possible purchaser?

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  • There’s a good debate on this by George Turner over on the Grauniad with comments flying

    Lets get one thing straight: the publicy owned freehold is gifted to the developer, who should be named please (british land perhaps, or some qatari bank?) so when we do the math on the market value of the new apartments (they won’t be ‘flats’), and after we throw in a few ‘feature elements’ and ‘flexible community uses’ to keep the councillors happy, they stand to make a whopping markup quadrupling their dough in maybe five years - they like quick returns, don’t they just?

    The ruling by the inspector of the department (also not named) not the minister, etablished the deal is an unfair “pay to stay” social cleanser. No surprise there then.

    So are the Harman-friendly architects (including riba’s new president) aiding and abetting a breach of human rights ? Now we have the ruling, will they pull out of the disreputable and unlawful project to accord with our codes of conduct? or is too much money involved. Poor old Peter John (no relation of Robert presumably) has to find the funds to pay lawyers to appeal now, will the community-friendly architects waive their retainers in the meantime perhaps, work for free? um, let’s .. think..just a mo um

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  • here they are, the sad grey money men from australia would you adam n eve it ? LENDLEASE
    lendlease.com/company/leadership

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  • This is the giveaway to the whole proposal, if social or genuinely affordable numbers weren't enough: the scheme will provide "a flexible community use/early years facility or gym". If the developers or the council really think an early years facility is of equal social value to a gym, they shouldn't be allowed near any housing development.
    Meanwhile I watch Javid's rush of humanity to the head with interest.

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