Austin Road estate, Hillingdon
260 homes are under threat on Hillingdon's Austin Road estate in Hayes (182 Council and 78 leasehold).
The estate consists of medium rise flats and maisonettes with a high-rise point block of 15 storeys and overlooks the Grand Union Canal. Hayes and Harlington train station is a 5 minute walk and is one of the planned Crossrail stations.
In March 2016, Hillingdon Council applied to the Mayor to establish Hayes Town Centre as a 'Housing Zone'. The application contained a list of potential development sites for new housing (appendix 5). The Austin Road estate was listed as one of them along with the Avondale Drive estate.
Four years later, in 2020, Hillingdon commissioned Savills to undertake an options appraisal study to consider options for the redevelopment of the estate.
The Savills report recommended demolition and rebuild on the basis that the estate has high investment needs, requiring an estimated expenditure of £57,631 (per unit) in maintenance costs over the next 30 years compared to a London average of £30,160.
But the £57,631 figure includes 'additional expenditure' of £11,603 per unit for other works like installing sprinkler systems.
In addition, the Savills report fails to provide any underlying data supporting its claim that the London average estimate is £30,160. Savills' own figures elsewhere contradict this; in 2015 Savills undertook an appraisal of Southwark Council's stock and estimated that it required £55,942 per unit expenditure on average (see para 1.8).
The report also highlighted that it had carried out a 'resident satisfaction survey' which found that the majority of residents didn't like living on the estate because of anti-social behaviour, crime and lack of cleanliness. But it doesn't say how many of the estate's 260 households were surveyed. The report goes on to explain that prior to the survey, 'key members' of the TRA had been contacted so that 'critiques of the estate could be collated and raised'.
On 22 October 2020, Hillingdon Council resolved to proceed with a residents' ballot on demolition in line with the recommendations of the Savills report.
The ballot was held in March 2021, with 79% voting in favour of redevelopment on a 90% turnout. The Council subsequently signed a partnership agreement with developer Higgins for the redevelopment of the estate.