ESTATE BALLOTS SCANDAL: KHAN DID SECRET DEALS WITH LAMBETH LABOUR TO FUND DEMOLITION OF FIVE ESTATES – REVELATIONS ONLY MADE PUBLIC AFTER EMPTY ‘VOTES’ PLEDGE

Twitter post by 36 Regular‏ @36regular 2 Dec 2017 it was great to see so many supporters of #socialhousing joining our peaceful demonstration this afternoon demanding Lambeth Council to #BallotCressingham and give us our right to decide about future of our homes and our lives #BallotUs

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan secretly agreed GLA finance for the demolition of five estates across Lambeth – and a further 29 across London.

The appalling revelations – finally made public in response to repeated questions from GLA Green party member Sian Berry – show that Lambeth council did secret deals before Christmas which will deny people living on five estates – Cressingham Gardens, Fenwick, Knights Walk, South Lambeth and Westbury – from getting a democratic right to vote on the future of their homes.

Sian Berry Tweeted: “Ever since the condition for a ballot was proposed to be a GLA contract for funding, I have been seeking a list of schemes that are already in contract with the Mayor’s team.

“I asked about this in a written question to the 22 February Mayor’s Question Time. “And normally we’d expect an answer to this on 27 February. “But, despite his team asking me for clarification prior to writing their response, the Mayor’s written answer to my question pretended not to understand it and was spectacularly unhelpful.

“The GLA and Lambeth council have also been giving unclear answers to Freedom of Information requests from local campaigners. “Now I know why.”

Sian Berry says she has resubmitted the same question this month and will get an answer late this afternoon (Monday).

(Update 6.17pm. Sian Berry has told News From Crystal Palace: “He didn’t answer – I just got the ‘Officers are drafting a response which will be sent shortly’ reply, which is very poor.”

Later update from her office:

“Unfortunately, they have not finished drafting a response to us yet and we now have to wait until after the local elections in May before sending it on to you.

“Due to the strict pre-election rules that start today at midnight (which I am sure you are aware of) our office will not be able to provide any comments from Sian.”

“But the housing and land team at City Hall have released a list of signed off estates in response to an FOI request.*

“This information paints a sorry picture, and is a harsh slap in the face to many residents on estates under threat who – thanks to his actions – will be denied a ballot at the last moment before his new policy comes in.

“They include the Fenwick, Cressingham Gardens, Knights Walk and other estates in Lambeth (though not Central Hill); Ham Close in Richmond; Cambridge Road in Kingston and the Aylesbury in Southwark.

“In total, since the consultation closed nearly a year ago (when the Mayor knew he would have no choice but to introduce ballots) he has signed off funding for 34 estates. “And 16 of these schemes have been signed off since 1 December when the Mayor and his team were finalising the new policy and gearing up to announce it.

“I am appalled by this behaviour, and with the delaying tactics involved in trying not to admit he was rushing through major schemes like this.

“It is a betrayal of the residents on these 34 estates, but it will also disappoint the Mayor’s wider electorate, who are just about to vote in local elections in London.”

Spreadsheets available via Sian Berry’s Twitter post appear to show that the Cressingham Gardens and Fenwick contracts were signed December 1st last year; the  Knights Walk, South Lambeth and Westbury contracts all signed September 29th last year.

“LAMBETH HAVE NO INTENTION OF BALLOTING OUR RESIDENTS” – Central Hill campaigner

Nicola Curtis, who chairs Central Hill residents and tenants association posted the following on Facebook in the wake of Sian Berry’s revelations:

“Central Hill estate will require a ballot if Lambeth council wish to access mayoral funding for the regeneration of our estate.

“This means if Lambeth wish to avoid the ballot they will have to access funding from elsewhere meaning a larger percentage of private investment possibly.

“Lambeth are avoiding our calls for a ballot and have just awarded a £15 million contract to the designers of the new estate and are showing by their actions they have no intention of balloting our residents.

“When asked they reply ‘It’s only a mayoral consultation and who should we ballot existing or future residents?’. “It’s so complicated!”

CONSERVATIVE OPPOSITION LEADER CONGRATULATES SIAN BERRY

Lambeth council’s Conservative opposition leader Cllr Tim Briggs told News From Crystal Palace: “First of all I congratulate Sian Berry for chasing this up. “Slippery Sadiq has already broken six of his election promises so expecting him to show any kind of integrity over estate demolitions was unlikely at best.

“This is what Labour do – they make promises because they think it will win Labour support, then they do whatever is good for Labour politicians, and ignore residents.

“For four years Conservative councillors have been opposing this policy of destroying people’s homes and taking away their secure tenancies for shoddy new builds with higher rent, higher utility bills and higher service charges. It is inhuman.

“People across Lambeth need to understand that if you vote for Labour candidates, you get people who think they know best, telling you what to do, how to live your life, and that you should be grateful.

“Wake up up Lambeth residents, and stop voting Labour! “You have nothing to lose but your chains.”
“RESIDENTS CONCERNS IGNORED” – GREEN CLLR SCOTT AINSLIE
Lambeth council’s Green party Cllr Scott Ainslie said: “Thank goodness we have two outstanding Green Assembly members: working hard and diligently to ensure the spotlight is kept firmly on those in power and keeping them accountable.

“Sian and Caroline have proved time and again, that they are on the side of Londoners first and foremost and that those in power operate fairly, transparently and keep to their promises.

BOLD “Residents’ concerns on estates in Lambeth have been ignored and their wishes ridden rough-shod over as Lambeth Labour have pushed forward with their regeneration agenda.

“It is extremely disappointing to hear the Mayor flexing and bending his approach to balloting estates under the threat of regeneration – a move no doubt designed to help out his fellow Labour Cllrs looking to get re-elected in the forthcoming local elections.

“Lambeth Labour are betraying their leader and no doubt many who voted for them back in 2014 by not balloting estates earmarked for Regeneration.

“Let’s hope the people of Lambeth send a strong signal to Lambeth Labour on May 3rd and vote for the party that has always and consistently been on their side. “The Greens received the second largest number of votes in Lambeth in 2014. “If you vote Green, you get Green.”

Further reading: Khan hits back at claim he rushed regeneration schemes to avoid ballots – by Colin Marrs Architects Journal 27 March, 2018 

Social media comments include the following:

Sian Berry Retweeted Tom Keene‏ @anthillsocial

The mayor for London @SadiqKhan has just condemned the homes and lives of thousands of Londoners by denying residents of some estates a ballot over the future of their communities. The mental anguish, along with the human and environmental damage he will cause is incalculable.

Andy Plant‏ @andyplant08 Replying to @anthillsocial @SadiqKhan

Our Mayor isn’t likely to meet residents of the estates he so sneakily sold down the river. The cognitive dissonance between his actions, and being faced with people setting out the consequences of his actions, would be too great.

gareth glynn‏ @garethglynn Retweeted Tom Keene

Why is .@UKLabour completely silent on this? They’re very confident about the May elections, but ppl won’t forget how @SadiqKhan & boroughs like @lambeth_council refuse to listen to tenants #accountability

Tom Keene‏ @anthillsocial Retweeted 36 Regular (please see photo at top – Ed.)

This is what you have ignored @SadiqKhan . Whatever Lambeth councillors have told you. residents have not been put first. Why won’t you meet us so we can tell you first hand?

The Log Lady‏ @gamecounsel Retweeted 36 Regular

Just one day after the signing of the GLA/Lambeth funding agreement, which apparently means we’re denied a ballot. How can this be right? @SadiqKhan

Andy Plant‏ @andyplant08 Replying to @wmtucker @anthillsocial and 2 others

People can fume AND attempt a united slate. The primary issue, though, is simple. We need an opposition in that Town Hall. It doesn’t have to be a united slate, but that would be helpful. What would also be helpful is a borough-wide petition to reinstate government by committee.

The Log Lady‏ @gamecounsel Mar 24

This ‘council estate boy’ ‘bus driver’s son’ has just thrown thousands of council estate residents under the bus.

Tom Keene‏ @anthillsocial

Sadiq Khan: Ensure votes for residents on estates facing regeneration – Sign the Petition! http://chn.ge/2G1I6ec  via @UKChange (Ensure votes for residents on estates facing regeneration)

*To see the list of all 34 estates please go to Sian Berry’s Twitter page. Pinned Tweet at top. Spreadsheet accessible in third paragraph after ‘However’ headline.

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