Achilles Stop and Listen Campaigns response to the resident’s charter

Many in our community will be excluded from the right to vote in a ballot by Lewisham Council this includes businesses and community groups who are under threat of demolition as part of the councils ‘regeneration proposals’.

This survey is on principles and has no details and without any details it is therefore meaningless. The survey is for the benefit of the council to pursue demolition and to reach their arbitrary targets at whatever the cost – it is not aimed to benefit residents/communities who will lose homes, green and community spaces, shops, and their livelihoods to have a genuine input and choice about what happens in their communities.

Here is Lewisham’s Survey: https://consultation.lewisham.gov.uk/strategic-housing-and-regulatory-services/residentscharter/

Here is Achilles response to the survey: achilles_stop_and_listen_survey_response

Below you can also read Achilles full response to Lewisham’s residents survey on balloting residents on estates:

Overview

 Who is the survey aimed at? It appears that the outcome has already been pre-determined.

The guarantees are not legally binding, which makes them meaningless.

There is no mention of the demolition of homes and the destruction of communities in the overview – it is referred to as ‘improving homes’.

The overview refers to ‘rights to remain’ and ‘genuinely affordable’ this is absolutely meaningless without any detail.

This survey is for the benefit of the council to pursue demolition and to reach their arbitrary targets at whatever the cost – it is not aimed to benefit residents/communities who will lose homes, green and community spaces, shops,   and their livelihoods.

 

Principle1

Before any estate regeneration, a Residents’ Ballot will take place to give you a say in the future of your neighbourhood. To help you make an informed decision, we will make you a formal offer – in writing – which you can then choose to accept or reject in the ballot.

 

Strongly disagree with the above

This isn’t about giving residents a genuine choice about what happens in their communities it’s about pushing demolition. Ballots should only be held when there are a range of different options, accompanied by detailed plans, for people to consider, for example refurbishment and infill with details on costing, time scales and all of the impacts (we want to see independent social, financial, environmental, equalities impact assessments)

Before a ballot there should be funds and resources made available for independent alternative residents/community led proposals, legal help and independent consultations.

All options including refurbishment and infill should be pursued by the council with the same amount of resources and time as the councils preferred choice of demolition so residents have a genuine choice.

 

 

Principle 2

We guarantee to build more homes for social rent. Any proposals for estate regeneration will be driven by our priority to increase genuinely affordable homes.

 

Strongly disagree with the above

This is a trick and meaningless question. Of course people want to see an increase in social housing but they don’t want to see whole areas erased. Perhaps ask – do you think we should use empty sites to build social homes (which clearly Lewisham is failing to do) or ask what residents think about your joint ventures with private companies to build homes for private rent? Or what they think about the demolition of structurally sound homes, small businesses, community organisation/groups and community gardens in areas with high pollution? Or ask do you think we should be investing in our communities instead of erasing them?

 

 
Principle 3

We will regularly communicate with all residents writing to everyone at least once every three months in the run up to a Residents’ Ballot and throughout the design, planning and eventual construction process, presenting transparent information that is accessible to everyone.

 

Strongly disagree with the above

This shouldn’t have to be principle –Lewisham should be communicating with residents regularly but fails to do so. Lewisham council does not have a good track record of communicating with residents in any kind of detail or with any degree of transparency.  Ballots should be held at the latest possible time when there are different, very detailed plans of all the options for example refurbishment, infill and with very detailed information including information on costing, time scales and all impacts including changes in tenancies, rent increases, or type of rent for example from Council rent to London Affordable rent All options including refurbishment and infill should be pursued by the council with the same amount of resources and time as the council’s preferred choice, namely demolition, so that residents have a genuine choice. Before any Ballot can take place funds and resources should be made available for independent alternative residents/community led proposals, legal help and independent consultations.

Transparency of all details involving and relating to developers, housing associations and other stakeholders involved in the estate regeneration should be communicated and independently scrutinised. All businesses and community organisations under threat of demolition including leasehold and freehold properties who are part of regeneration proposals should get a vote. Everyone who may lose their home; livelihood, community space should get a vote.

 

Principle 4

Everyone will have the opportunity to help shape the proposals and all estate residents will be encouraged to participate in the design process and nominate individuals to form a Residents’ Steering Group which will work alongside the Council’s design team to help inform decisions through the design, planning and construction phases.

 

Strongly disagree with the above

This another trick question assuming the outcome of a ballot is demolition. All options including refurbishment and infill should be pursued by the council with the same amount of resources and time as the council’s preferred choice of demolition so residents have a genuine choice before any ballot. Funds and resources should be made available for independent alternative residents/community led proposals, legal help and independent consultations so communities can have a genuine say and input into what happens in their communities.

 

Note* Further ballots should also be required when any aspect of the plans change.

 

Principle 5

If you are a Council tenant who wishes to stay, you will be guaranteed a new home at a social rent level, with the same tenancy conditions that you have today and a Housing Needs Assessment will ensure you are provided with a home that matches your requirements.

 

Strongly disagree with the above

Yet another trick question – it is totally meaningless without detail. The ‘guarantees’ referred to are not legally binding and therefore meaningless.

 

Principle 6

If you are a resident leaseholder or freeholder who wishes to stay, you will be guaranteed to remain in home ownership.

 

Strongly disagree with the above

This another trick question – it is meaningless without detail. Guarantees are not legally binding.

 

Principle 7

We will always strive to create and strengthen thriving communities that are inclusive and sustainable for existing and new residents, supporting new jobs, choice of shops, leisure and high quality open space wherever we can.

 

Strongly disagree with the above

This is vague and devoid of any meaning, typical of the rhetoric of regeneration speak.

 

Private Renters

Currently none of the draft principles that might make up the Residents’ Charter relate to private renters who may be living on an estate that could be regenerated to provide more homes. Do you think there should be a principle that relates to private renters in areas that could be developed?

 

Strongly agree

Everyone who is going lose their home should have a vote in a ballot regardless of tenure, how long they have lived there and their vote shouldn’t be dependent on them having been on the waiting list as your guidelines suggest. The right to participate in a ballot should be given to all private tenants, whether they are living in freehold or leasehold properties and irrespective of the length of the tenancy. All businesses and community organisations regardless of tenure that are under threat of demolition due to regeneration proposals should have the right participate in a ballot.

Are there any additional principles you would like to be included in a Residents’ Charter?

 

Ballots should only be held when there are a range of different options, accompanied by detailed plans, for people to consider, for example refurbishment and infill with details on costing, time scales and all of the impacts (we want to see independent social, financial, environmental, equalities impact assessments).

Before a ballot there should be funds and resources made available for independent alternative residents/community led proposals, legal help and independent consultations.

All options including refurbishment and infill should be pursued by the council with the same amount of resources and time as the council’s preferred choice of demolition so residents/communities have a genuine choice.

Advertisements