Refurbishing Central Hill estate, Crystal Palace and building 242 infill homes there will cost £77.5 million say Architects for Social Housing.
But demolishing the whole estate will cost Lambeth council an estimated £157 million – and that’s before a single new home is built.
The figures were unveiled at ASH’s launch of their new book-length report about Central Hill held on Cotton Gardens estate next to Knights Walk – another of the six estates across the borough which Lambeth have targeted for demolition.
ASH’s Simon Elmer told an audience of journalists, architects and others on Thursday evening Central Hill estate currently has 476 homes. “We can add 242.
“By selling or preferably renting on the private market we can regenerate the funds to refurbish the existing homes that have been neglected for many years.”
And he emphasised: “The real housing need is for sub-market rent. “That’s where the real demand is at the moment.
“The reasons Lambeth don’t have the money are because of central Government cuts.”
But he said councils of all the main political hues – Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem) say that because of central Government cuts they cannot upkeep the estates and therefore demolition is the only answer.
“We’ve demonstrated very clearly that’s not the case.
“Councils also say cost of infilling and building roof extensions* is prohibitive. “When we came up with these designs we got them costed by a quantity surveyor.
“The total cost – that’s refurbishing all the homes on the estate plus increasing the number of homes by 50 per cent – is £77.5 million.
“Demolishing Central Hill and replacing it would cost them £157 million – before they even produce a new home on the estate it’s going to cost twice as much.
“This came out of a consultation with residents of Central Hill. “I know that word has a terrible stigma around it – like ‘affordable’ . “We worked with the residents who know the problems and benefits of their homes better than anyone else.
“We produced this not simply to provide the residents with a tool that they can say to Lambeth council ‘the reasons for demolition are ones we can address.’
*building another storey above an existing building
See also: Lambethwatch: Manifestoes
ASH’s full report on Central Hill can be found at: https://architectsforsocialhousing.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/central-hill-a-case-study-in-estate-regeneration/
Central Hill: A Case Study in Estate Regeneration. ASH say: “The report includes not only our designs for the estate’s refurbishment and increase in housing capacity by up to 50 per cent without the demolition of a single existing home, but also our account of why and how these proposals were rejected by Lambeth council, which in March last year announced its intention to demolish Central Hill estate….
“Despite this decision, which is opposed by 77 per cent of the residents, and which is being repeated on hundreds of estates across London, the refusal of London councils to consider estate regeneration options other than demolition has begun to weaken.
“Last November ASH was invited to present our designs for Central Hill and the five other estates we have worked with to Haringey council’s housing and regeneration scrutiny panel, who are looking into alternatives to the Haringey Development Vehicle, the future of which is now in doubt.”
ASH warn that there is nothing, either in current government legislation or in the housing policies of the Conservative, Labour or Liberal Democrat parties that will stop councils from following the same practices Lambeth council employed to push through their plans to demolish Central Hill estate against both the wishes of residents and the demonstrable social, financial and environmental benefits of the design alternatives.
Comments on the report include: ITALICS “It’s hard to overstate how vital ASH’s work has been for the growing movement of people, and politicians like me, who are challenging the orthodoxy around regeneration. “They show in striking and practical ways that there is an alternative to razing our estates to the ground and destroying our communities. “By working closely with residents they have not only produced better plans than the top-down councils and developers, but have also inspired those campaigning to save their homes to fiercer action, making them even more determined to win and see their alternative vision built. BOLD “This case study is a hugely important resource for all of us looking for a better way.” Siân Berry, Green party member of the London Assembly.
“A piece of work like this must be essential reading for everyone who values strong and sustainable communities, and real places and societies in which to live. “Thank you.” – Lambeth Cllr Rachel Heywood