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Guerrilla architects and courtroom fisticuffs: a tale from regeneration’s frontline


Most of the homes that Lambeth propose to demolish and “regenerate” are not unpopular or unloved. Despite 40+ years of neglect, residents are fighting passionately to retain their homes and communities. Lambeth, despite being nominally under Labour control, could hardly be offering more pliant cooperation with the government’s drive to destroy and erase all evidence of a caring, responsible welfare state and the legacy of the high aspirations of the Hollamy years. As to the conundrum of an economic system, which makes it possible to destroy buildings within the 60 years minimum period for which they were designed to last (after which the public loans are repaid and they become a pure asset) in order to completely redevelop, one need look no further that the 20% VAT penalty levied on repairs and upgrades compared with the zero rating of new-build. The government should level the playing field so that a true cost-benefit analysis can be made into which should be fed the lost embodied energy of the buildings to finish up in land-fill and the social cost of the disruption of lives. If Cameron were truly concerned with housing those in greatest need he would be looking at the lessons to be learnt from Lewisham’s Walter Segal self-build schemes (see exhibition at the AA) which were inserted into awkward corners of LA sites, and constructed by people with no prior building experience, acquiring in the process, empowerment, skills and an asset. Kate Macintosh

Posted date

11 March, 2016

Posted time

1:40 pm