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Cooperative Council, Housing

Estate rebuild gets the go-ahead with new council homes pledge

Lambeth Council’s Cabinet has agreed to redevelop the Cressingham Gardens estate under ambitious plans to provide a new generation of homes for the borough’s residents.

The decision allows Lambeth to replace all the 306 homes, many of which are in a poor state of repair, and provide extra properties for council rent on the estate. The redevelopment will provide a minimum of 464 new homes – a net gain of 158 extra homes.

The agreement made on July 13 means that all council tenants on the estate will have the right to a new home, at council rents, for their lifetime. Homeowners on the estate will have the ability to buy a new home, or to take up a shared equity or shared ownership option if that suits them better.

Cllr Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Too many homes on Cressingham Gardens do not meet Lambeth’s Housing Standard. Too many people, especially council tenants, live in really substandard conditions and we really have to do something about it.

“This is the only way that we can actually provide decent-quality homes for existing tenants, and provide even more new homes for council rent for the people of Lambeth.

“We also have over 20,000 people on our housing waiting list, 1,800 homeless families in temporary accommodation and a further 1,300 families who are severely overcrowded in their current homes. Lambeth is committed to building the homes that local people need and rebuilding low density estates like Cressingham offers hope to local families of a home to call their own.”

Cressingham Gardens is one of six estates on the Council’s estate regeneration programme, which has been set up to find ways to improve the quality and size of homes on Lambeth’s housing estates.

The programme also aims to invest in the wider neighbourhood and increase the number of homes on those estates. The programme will contribute towards the Council’s commitment to provide 1,000 extra homes for council rent for local families.

Lambeth had originally set out five options for improving homes on Cressingham Gardens, ranging from refurbishment to total redevelop. Refurbishment was ruled out as unaffordable.

Cllr Lib Peck, Lambeth council leader, said at the meeting that getting more homes at local authority rent levels should be a top priority when finalising plans for Cressingham Gardens, and that the current forecast was conservative because of changing government policies.

At the meeting it was acknowledged that the time it had taken the council to reach the decision had been disruptive for residents, and there was a welcome commitment from tenants’ representatives at the meeting that they would work with the council more closely in the future. Concerns about the guarantees for leaseholders, tenants and freeholders also expressed at the meeting were noted by the council’s Cabinet who pledged to investigate further.

To read the cabinet report click here

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