TOWER BLOCKS ON DEMOLISHED ESTATES “ONLY WAY TO GET 50 PER CENT  AFFORDABLE HOMES” SAYS CAMPAIGNER – but council cabinet approve their Homes for Lambeth plans anyway

The only way Lambeth council can achieve 50 per cent of “affordable homes” on estates it wants to demolish under its controversial ‘Homes for Lambeth’ plans  is by building tower blocks on them, says a campaigner.
 
As News From Crystal Palace has previously reported, Lambeth council are set to lend up to £600 million to Homes for Lambeth – which has just been formed – after borrowing the funds from elsewhere.

The new council-owned house building and management company – generically known as Homes for Lambeth but now using four different names – will have DEBTS of £165 MILLION by 2023, said the report to Monday’s meeting of Lambeth council’s cabinet.

Lambeth council initially plan to lend monies for demolishing three estates – Knight’s Walk which is part of the Cotton Gardens estate off Kennington Lane; South Lambeth estate, South Lambeth Road SW8 and Westbury, Wandsworth Road, SW8 – and then rebuilding them.

With three other estates under similar threat – Central Hill estate in Crystal Palace, Cressingham Gardens at Tulse Hill and Fenwick estate near Clapham North tube station- that could take the figure to around £600 million.

At Monday night’s meeting Cressingham Gardens campaigner Gerlinde Gniewosz slammed the proposals.

“It’s not what I’d call a business plan. “Where’s the money coming from? “How are you going to repay the loans?

“The only way you can achieve 50 per cent of affordable homes is by including tower blocks. “You are way below 50 per cent – you’re no better than developers.

“How does that fit with EU state aid rules?” she asked.

“There’s nothing about paying at market rates because you have not provided detailed financials.

And she warned: “If one developer goes belly up you are putting all these home owners futures at risk.

“What happens if your development vehicle goes bankrupt?”

Tenants would be allowed to use Airbnb (which would allow them to let travellers from elsewhere and abroad use their homes – Ed.) but not leaseholders, she added.

“If I was to do a business plan like that I’d be ******* fired on the spot.

“You are not going to get 80 per cent of homeowners returning.

The latest planning application for redeveloping Cressingham Gardens showed there would be 2765 extra homes at council rent. “Your latest pre-planning applications are delivering 34.

“How the hell does someone submit planning applications with 275 extra homes and now there are only 34?. “You have to replace hundreds of homes including temporary accommodation. “This is a lie.

“Your oversized scrutiny panel has no homewoners on it and you are giving them no oversight on it. “It’s shocking.”

She called on deputy leader Cllr Paul McGlone to look at the full risk.

“This will bring the council down. “You are putting all the council taxpayers at risk. “I want to see the full business plan.” (Applause from the audience).

Further reading: LAMBETH COUNCIL SET TO LEND UP TO £600 MILLION TO NEW HOUSING COMPANY – “It may well be that by lending to Homes for Lambeth, the council is limited in the amount of borrowing it can undertake for other projects” – report January 16, 2018

OPINION – HOMES FOR LAMBETH: CARILLION Mk II? January 16, 2018……Homes for Lambeth is a financial disaster waiting to happen. A council which says it has NO money to repair homes on six council estates they want to demolish, NO money to run libraries NOW decides its going to BORROW LOADSAMONEY to lend to a new company it’s just set up……

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