Residents Newsletter Published: September

Lambeth Council’s Cabinet intend to make a decision on the future of Central Hill later this year.

Prior to any decision, there will be a formal consultation process with residents. This means your views will be considered when the Council’s Cabinet makes it decision. We will let you know the timing of this consultation shortly.

While the Council want to make this decision as soon as possible we also need to be sure we have fully considered different options, including the Architects for Social Housing proposal.

Architects for Social Housing

The Council has reviewed the further option proposed by Architects for Social Housing (ASH) advocating the retention of the 460 homes on Central Hill. This review was presented to the Residents Engagement Panel on 28th July 2016.

The review presented to the Residents Engagement Panel concluded that:

  • Due to issues with the designs, in particular in building above existing homes, not all the homes could actually be built.
  • The homes are 1 and 2 bedroom, with only one 3 bedroom family home being proposed.
  • Homes for Lambeth (HfL) would need to build and pay for these homes from income it received.
  • Lambeth Council would still need to find funding to refurbish the existing homes on Central Hill.

However, the Council has agreed that the option is further reviewed by independent design and financial advisers, and the final conclusions to the proposal will be circulated.

 There's a rumour going round that....

"The Council has already decided what it is going to do."

No decision has been made about the future of Central Hill. Before the Cabinet reaches a decision residents will be consulted to enable them to give their views about the proposals for regeneration.

"Homes for Lambeth can give secure tenancies."

No. By law only Councils can offer a secure tenancy. However Homes for Lambeth can offer ‘assured lifetime tenancies’ which are designed to match the current secure tenancy as closely as possible. The Council will consult with tenants before this tenancy is finalised. More information can be found at: estateregeneration.lambeth.gov.uk/assured_tenancy

"The Council doesn’t need to demolish any properties."

No, the Council does need to demolish properties on low-density estates. Lambeth does not have enough empty land to build much-needed new homes. Where the Council owns empty land we’re moving quickly to develop it; for example Somerleyton Road (in Brixton) where 300 new council rent homes are to be built. However, the Council also has to look its low-density estates to provide the more and better homes that are needed.

"The Council is only bothered about profit."

No. To build the more and better homes the borough needs amid crippling spending restrictions, the Council needs to find other ways to pay for them. So, the Council is setting up Homes for Lambeth a private company which will be fully owned by the Council. Homes for Lambeth will build, amongst other types of homes, new private rent homes in the borough. The revenue that these private rent homes will bring in will pay for the homes at Council level rents that Homes for Lambeth will also build. As a private company, Homes for Lambeth can be criminally convicted under the Landlord & Tenants Act.

"I will get less rooms when I move."

Tenants will be re-housed based on their housing need. Where you are in a property that is larger than your current need, under the Council’s Rehousing Policy you can have an extra room.

"The estate is being sold to Savills, who only want to make as much money as possible."

No. The estate has not be sold to Savills or any other private developer. Savills have been contracted to help Homes for Lambeth set up as a housing association. After this work is complete in around 9 months Savills will have no involvement in running Homes for Lambeth.

"Lambeth Council & Homes for Lambeth are breaking up the community on Central Hill."

No. Lambeth does not want to break-up the existing community. Lambeth is trying to offer the best options for tenants and leaseholders. This way they can remain on Central Hill if they wish. If Lambeth Cabinet decide to redevelop Central Hill, we will look at how phasing can keep neighbours together. We will also work with residents to develop a ‘Local Lettings Plan’.

"Lambeth will make me homeless."

No. As part of the regeneration of Central Hill you will be offered a new home with Homes for Lambeth under new conditions (lifetime assured tenancy) or you can choose to move elsewhere within Lambeth keeping your secure tenancy.

"I have to move out of the area or out of Lambeth."

No. All Lambeth tenants can remain on Central Hill. If you don’t want to stay on Central Hill you can move through the Choice Based Lettings scheme to a different part of the borough – this will be your choice. Lambeth does not have any stock outside of its boundaries.

"Homes will be smaller in the new development."

The new homes will be built to meet Lambeth’s Housing Design Principles. We will also develop a Resident Brief for Central Hill taking on board what is important for residents.

"It’s not worth me decorating because I’ll have to move soon."

As no decision has been made we do not have a phasing plan for the estate. We do not expect the first residents to move until 2017/18 at the earliest. We will be working with residents to plan how the phasing will take place.

"Homes for Lambeth means council rents will go up to the level of private market rents."

No. Current secure tenant’s rents will remain at Council level and will be set in the same way in the future. Rents will be higher because you will be in a new property, but any increase in rents caused by an increase in the value of the property will be phased in over 5 years.

"Leaseholders will be stuck on Central Hill for anything up to 10 years."

It is anticipated that most leaseholders who are part of the community will want to stay on Central Hill. For those who want to move off the estate we are looking at a policy that enables them to move before their home is needed as part of the development.

"Homes for Lambeth can be sold."

Ultimately yes, however the articles and governance arrangements for Homes for Lambeth will safeguard the Council’s long-term commitment to prioritising the needs of Lambeth’s communities.

In addition, the Council will require that any proposed sale of part or all of Homes for Lambeth (and any of its companies) be subject to a ‘triple lock’ of approvals:

  • A unanimous vote of full Cabinet; and
  • A 2/3rds vote of full Council approval; and
  • A unanimous agreement of the Homes for Lambeth Board

"The Council will put a value on my home to suit themselves."

No. If you are not happy with the valuations that the Council provides you will be able to get a separate valuation which the Council will also pay for. If there is no agreement between both valuations a negotiation process will be started.

 

Tenancies and Leases with Homes For Lambeth (HFL) 

As part of a consultation process on tenancies and leases with HfL, PPCR (the independent advisers) will be organising meetings on the estate. The feedback from these meetings will be passed to the Council so we can understand what residents believe is important in the future of the estate. Further information on when these meetings will take place will be provided shortly.

 

How to contact your Independent Resident Adviser

PPCR Associates has been appointed as Independent Resident Advisers. It is working with tenants and residents as a whole to ensure that they influence the regeneration process. PPCR is available on the estate and if you wish, they can visit you in your home. You can also contact them by Freephone.

To find out more visit www.ppcr.org.uk
Email: info@ppcr.org.uk
Freephone: 0800 317066
(Ask for Ron or Abraham)

 

Repairs and Investment Works 

Whilst the future of the estate is being considered, no major investment will take place to your home. Lambeth will continue to keep the properties wind and water tight and carry out the day-to-day repairs and up-keep of the external space. If you are a Council Tenant or Leaseholder and need a repair carried out on your home, please contact Housing Management. You can report a repair (non emergency) to them by calling:

Monday to Friday between 9am & 5pm:
020 7926 6000

Monday to Friday between 5pm & 9am:
020 7926 6666

Weekends and bank holidays:
020 7926 6666

Alternatively you can also report non emergency repairs via the Housing Management website:
housingmanagement.lambeth.gov.uk/repairs

 

Click here to find a downloadable Pdf version of the newsletter as circulated to residents. 

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