Estate BallotsThe problem with the Mayor's ballots on estate demolitions.
The Mayor's ballot requirement
The promise that all residents of estate regeneration would have a vote, was undermined when the Mayor introduced exemptions that are drawn so widely - where there is a planning permission or GLA funding prior to July 2018. To date, 48 estates have successfully applied for exemptions. The Mayor also continues to turn a blind eye to ballots not offering refurbishment as a real choice or ballots offering a false choice.
The following are six examples of estates where such ballots have taken place.
Douglas Bader Park estate, Barnet
Residents on the Douglas Bader Park estate in Colindale, were told that they would only see 'like-for-like' repairs 'as they are reported' under the landlord's 'statutory duty' if demolition is rejected:
Juniper Crescent estate, Camden
Similarly, residents of the Juniper Crescent estate in Camden were told that their estate would only receive essential maintenance and repairs as reported if they voted no:
West Kentish Town estate, Camden
Residents of the West Kentish Town estate in Camden were told that if they voted against regeneration then their estate wouldn't see any major improvement for at least another 5 to 10 years:
Cambridge Road estate, Kingston
Residents of the Cambridge Road estate in Kingston were told that if they voted against regeneration then their estate would only see 'essential maintenance' and repairs as reported:
Barnsbury estate, Islington
Residents of the Barnsbury estate in Islington were told that if they voted against regeneration then ongoing problems like damp, overcrowding would not be tackled:
St Raphael's estate, Brent
Residents on the St Raphael's estate in Brent were told that if they voted against demolition then their homes wouldn't be improved beyond their current condition:
Clichy estate, Tower Hamlets
Residents on the Clichy estate in Tower Hamlets residents were initially consulted on an 'infill' option as well as full redevelopment. But the information sent to residents along with the ballot papers asked only whether they wanted full redevelopment or not.
In addition, leaseholders were told that if they voted against redevelopment then they would be faced with major bills for any refurbishment.
Finally, residents were told that if they don't vote for full redevelopment then they would likely have the infill option forced upon them anyway:
Teviot estate, Tower Hamlets
In Tower Hamlets, residents of the Teviot estate were similarly told that voting against regeneration would leave the estate in its current dilapidated state and face having new homes built on their roofs anyway: This is a recurring element when it comes to estate regeneration ballots; residents are presented with generous promises of new homes while being warned with continued neglect and dis-investment or undesirable infill options if they vote no. This, coupled with incentives to tenants like the offer of an extra bedroom if they are overoccupying or offers of secure tenancies to temporary tenants (many secure tenants having already been rehoused) has become a winning formula for Councils and housing associations in the PR exercise of gaining support for demolition.
The Mayor has exempted 48 estates from having to comply with his ballot requirement in the first place. Most of these are exempted on the basis that he had already approved funding and others that he had already approved planning permission for the schemes before his ballot requirement became effective on 18 July 2018.