Following a judicial review hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, a judge has upheld a challenge to Lambeth Council.
Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing DBE found that the Council was wrong to remove three out of five alternative proposals, originally put forward for redeveloping Cressingham Gardens, without seeking residents’ views.
The Council had explained that “Options 1-3”, relating to the potential refurbishment of homes on the estate, were withdrawn after it became clear that they were unaffordable.
However, Mrs Justice Laing ruled the Council’s decision to stop consulting on options 1-3, in March this year, was wrong.
The two remaining options, including the complete redevelopment of the estate, were presented to Lambeth’s Cabinet for decision in July.
Cllr Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “We are disappointed at this judgement, but we will fully comply with the judge’s decision. We will take a report on the proposals back to Cabinet as soon as possible, and residents will have their chance to comment on all the options during that process.
“However, we have said previously that full refurbishment of the estate or a significant proportion of the estate is currently unaffordable within the constraints of the Housing Revenue Account.
“After detailed work with residents and experts the council concluded in February 2015 that refurbishment was unaffordable and that to continue to consult on something that could not be delivered would be misleading to residents.”
Lambeth has already drawn up proposals to address the issues highlighted by Mrs Justice Laing, and give residents and other interested parties the opportunity to express their views on the options for improving Cressingham Gardens.
As a result of the judgement, a new report will be taken to Cabinet, covering all five of the options put forward. In the process of preparing that report, residents will be able to give their opinion on each option, including on its affordability.
This process will start immediately, as the council recognises that all residents will need to have certainty about the future of their homes as soon as possible.
The council will also be holding more meetings with residents in order to discuss the best way of securing lasting improvements for Cressingham Gardens.
A letter explaining the judgement and its implications, and outlining what the Council plans to do in response, will be sent to every household on the Cressingham Gardens estate from today.
Cressingham Gardens was among six estates included in Lambeth Council’s estate regeneration programme.
In March this year, the Lambeth Cabinet was told that full or partial refurbishment of Cressingham Gardens was currently unaffordable within the constraints of the Housing Revenue Account.
It was estimated that the cost of bringing the Cressingham Gardens estate up to the Lambeth Housing Standard would be £9.4m. The original 2012 Lambeth Housing Standard business plan included a provision of £3.4m for these works.
Further details of the proposed redevelopment of Cressingham Gardens is available at: http://estateregeneration.lambeth.gov.uk/cressingham