EASTFIELDS ESTATEOver 100 council and housing association estates across London are under threat of demolition. Our research shows where they are.
Number of homes under threat: 446
Landlord: Clarion Group
Ballot Status: Exempt
Planning Status: Approved
In Nov 2018, the Mayor approved the demolition of 446 homes on Merton’s Eastfields estate, to be replaced by 800 homes of which only 262 affordable (all at affordable rent of up to 80% market rent or LHA levels - whichever is lower).
The Mayor’s approval notice confirms that replacement ‘social’ housing will be affordable rent tenure and confirms that he has granted an exemption from his requirement to ballot residents on the demolition of their homes.
The estate is a seven hectare site overlooking Streatham Park Cemetery, comprising a mix of houses and three storey blocks of flats. It also contains a large area of open space at the centre of the estate.
The scheme is being progressed in five phases over a 13-year period. According to the latest newsletter submission of the detailed planning application for phase 1 has been delayed.
The section 106 agreement secures the right of any tenants who wish to return to the estate to do so under a social rented tenancy, but enables subsequent re-lets at affordable rent (up to 80 % market rent or LHA rates - whichever is lower).
The scheme is being progressed by Clarion Housing Association (formerly Circle/Affinity Sutton), which took over the Council’s housing estate under a 2010 stock transfer agreement. The agreement required Clarion to bring the homes up to Decent Homes Standard by the end of 2015, but Clarion subsequently persuaded the Council to agree to waiver this requirement for two estates which it claimed would benefit from full redevelopment - High Path estate and the Eastfields estate, and partial redevelopment of the smaller Ravensbury estate.
The three Merton schemes have been awarded £43m funding by the Mayor from his current affordable housing programme (of which £15m for the Eastfields estate) and have been granted an exemption from his requirement to ballot residents.
The options appraisal was carried out by Savills and made several interesting conclusions, firstly that residents were satisfied with their current homes: “There is a strong community spirit and many of the residents of the High Path Estate enjoy living on the Estate (evidenced by low turnover of tenants, as well as feedback received from residents.)” - (para 2.1).
Secondly, that the existing buildings are structurally sound. (para 2.21)
Thirdly, that whilst the cost of redevelopment was higher than that of refurbishment, the difference wasn’t disclosed because of ‘commercial confidentiality’:
Savills was later also instructed to produce a financial viability appraisal justifying Clarion’s claim that it couldn’t provide a policy-compliant level of affordable housing for the scheme.
It is worth noting that the three Merton estates provide something that no other regeneration scheme has offered - namely, a very generous re-housing offer to leaseholders which gives them full equity of one of the new-build replacement homes after 11 years.
Mayor’s Stage 1 and Stage 2 planning reports - approved Nov 2018
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