EXCLUSIVE: LAMBETH COUNCIL’S ‘NO NEED FOR BALLOTS CLAIM’ EXPOSED AS BALDERDASH BY NEWS FROM CRYSTAL PALACE – Funding given by Greater London Authority for three estates was NOT for demolition – and GLA have not given any money for two other estates under threat  

Lambeth council’s claims that they do not need to ballot people living on five estates they want to demolish because they already have funding from the Greater London Authority to demolish them do not stand up to even MINOR scrutiny.

Investigations by News From Crystal Palace show that the GLA DID give Lambeth council £10 million for three of the estates –  Knight’s Walk, South Lambeth and Westbury estates – but that was to be spent on obtaining vacant possession on those sites.

News From Crystal Palace can find NO evidence (via Google) of ANY GLA funding involving Cressingham Gardens or Fenwick estates.

The Save Cressingham Gardens Campaign posted on their Facebook page on Friday (12.01): “Lambeth to deny yet again Cressingham residents the ballot. “Disgraceful!! “They actually have not received any GLA funding yet for Cressingham to our knowledge!”

Paragraph 4.3 of the Mayor of London’s consultation paper issued on Thursday states: “First, the funding condition would not apply where the proposed demolitions already have full or outline planning permission.” (which Lambeth don’t currently have.)

“Second, the funding condition will not be applied retrospectively, meaning that where the GLA is already in contract to fund a particular estate regeneration scheme named in a funding contract with a registered provider, ballots would not be mandated, unless the registered provider proposes to make a significant change to the scope of the scheme.”

All this is in stark contrast to the press release the council posted on their official Love Lambeth website which categorically states:

Three estates in Lambeth (Knight’s Walk, South Lambeth and Westbury) have had detailed planning applications submitted in December, each demonstrating the council’s commitment to providing tenants a new home at council level rents…..

Two further schemes in receipt of GLA funding, Fenwick and Cressingham Gardens, were approved by Cabinet almost two years ago ……..

“The council has met all of the principles laid out by the Mayor’s guide for these five estates and the proposed new funding condition will not be applied retrospectively.

BACKGROUND / SOURCES: July 2016: A cabinet member delegated decision which effectively commits the GLA to provide the London Borough of Lambeth (LBL) with £10 million of interest-free loan funding to support/facilitate the delivery of new homes on the sites that sit within Lambeth’s Housing Zone….

“… to be spent on assisting with obtaining vacant possession on three Housing Zone sites – Westbury Estate, South Lambeth Estate and Knight’s Walk Estate.”

September 2016: GLA and Lambeth enter into an ‘overarching borough agreement’ to part fund land assembly costs across the Westbury, South Lambeth and Knights Walk housing estates. (GLA)

December 18th 2017: Report title: Estate Regeneration – Early Buy Back Funding 1.10 Going forwards, it is proposed that the funding of early buy backs will be secured through short-term borrowing by the council on the basis of seven-year funding from Public Works Loan Board.

On Central Hill, the sixth estate Lambeth Labour councillors want to demolish, the Love Lambeth statement said: “On one further scheme (Central Hill), agreed at Cabinet last March and not subject currently to GLA funding, the council held a consultation run by an independent company based on the Mayor’s principles which found that a clear majority of residents in favour of rebuilding.

“The council will respond to the Mayor’s consultation on the transitional arrangements around the new funding condition to require resident ballots and will work with residents to understand the implications.”

Editor’s note: News From Crystal Palace does try and get answers from Lambeth council, usually without much success. What happens next: If Lambeth council’s press office think we’ve got anything wrong, we get an email telling us so. News From Crystal Palace will keep you posted -Ed.

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