The request to ‘call in’ the Lambeth council cabinet decision to demolish the Central Hill estate in Crystal Palace is to be reviewed at a meeting next Wednesday (May 3rd).

Lambeth’s Conservative opposition leader Cllr Tim Briggs, who has made the ‘call in’, is asking Lambeth’s overview and scrutiny committee to send the decision back to Lambeth council’s cabinet with a recommendation it be halted.

He also wants residents to be properly consulted in a “non-leading way” as to whether they want the estate (a) repaired, or (b) demolished and then rebuilt under the terms of Lambeth council’s ‘key guarantees’ or ‘principles’ and for evidential issues be properly addressed

As News From Crystal Palace has previously reported Cllr Briggs, in making the ‘call in’ says:

  • New evidence provided by the residents of Central Hill has not been considered.
  • The survey undertaken by Lambeth council is not a proper consultation – which he describes as “alleged”
  • No evidence has been provided to support the allegation that it will cost £40 million to refurbish the estate.
  • No justification or costings or evidence of any weight or relevance has been provided for the council’s allegation that repairing Central Hill estate will cost £40 million.
  • No proper impact assessments of the decision to demolish appear to have been carried out.
  • Lambeth council have not considered how to spread the cost of refurbishment.

In his request for the call-in Cllr Briggs said: “This is not a proper consultation with any validity as evidence to support the demolition of the estate.

“Even with such skewed, leading questions, Lambeth council still only manage to suggest that ‘55 per cent of council tenants support the proposal for complete development’.

The overview and scrutiny committee have a history of backing cabinet and committee decisions – but in the case of Cressingham Gardens estate between Tulse Hill and Brockwell park, they did make various recommendations to the full council.*

Venue for the meeting – it’s Vauxhall AGAIN – but with a 7pm start. (Bolney Meadow Community Centre, 31 Bolney Street, London, SW8 1EZ.)

At the time of writing, no response to the call-in has appeared on the Lambeth council website. Check Lambeth.gov meetings calendar (May 3rd) to see if a response has been posted.

Further reading: CENTRAL HILL DEMOLITION PLANS ‘CALLED IN’ FOR REVIEW – as Bennett isset to move from housing to planning (News From Crystal Palace April 11th 2017)

*The overview and scrutiny committee resolved not to refer the Cressingham Gardens decision back to cabinet but nonetheless to make such recommendations to cabinet as it sees fit:

1.       That, at an appropriate time, a thorough “lessons learned” exercise be undertaken in respect of Cressingham Gardens taking into account the entire process from 2012 including the judicial review judgement.

2.       That Cabinet considers the recommendations of the Resident Involvement in Housing Scrutiny Commission in order to ensure best practice is followed in future consultation and engagement.

3.       That consideration be given to the introduction of a protocol setting out standards of conduct and behaviour, to which anyone who participates in further consultation should adhere.

4.       That continued scrutiny take place of the total costs to residents of living on the redeveloped estate (including rent, council tax, energy bills and other relevant costs) to ensure these do not become prohibitive or unfair to current residents. Appropriate corrective action should be taken if necessary to ensure the new properties are genuinely affordable to those who wish to live there.

5.       That a review be conducted of the policy under which residents who part own/part rent on the redeveloped estate would be fully responsible for any section 20 service charges.

6.       That a commitment to financial transparency be made, with an ongoing robust and full financial risk management system in relation to the costs of the scheme in operation to ensure the long term viability of the Housing Revenue Account.


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