London Assembly votes for tenant ballots on estate regeneration

London Assembly members have voted unanimously in favour of a joint Labour and Green Party motion to ballot tenants before estate regeneration projects get the go-ahead.

The motion passed today urges mayor of London Sadiq Khan to recommend that ballots are used on all schemes where demolition is an option in the final version of his ‘Good Practice Guide to Regeneration’.

The vote does not mean that this recommendation will be included in Mr Khan’s regeneration guide as the mayor will still have the final say. However, the support of Labour and the unanimous vote places pressure on the mayor to follow the opinion of the assembly.

The guide will set out the key principles that the mayor wants followed in all estate regeneration projects.

While the guide will not be binding, Mr Khan can call in and block planning permission for estate regenerations in the capital he objects to.
Earlier this week he refused to allow permission for Barnet Council and Genesis’ plans to demolish the Grahame Park Estate in Colindale, due to the reduction in social housing that would follow.

Sian Berry, the former Green mayoral candidate, and Tom Copley, Labour’s housing spokesperson for the London Assembly, proposed the motion. They highlighted the importance of residents having “a final say” over any regeneration on their estates.

Speaking at the meeting, Sian Berry told the London Assembly members:

“The mayor’s commitment that ‘estate regeneration only takes place where there is resident support, based on full and transparent consultation’ was clear and we are calling now for him to keep his promise to Londoners.”

Mr Copely, who seconded the motion, said:

“Wherever demolition is an option, there must be a commitment to balloting residents, particularly where a sizeable number of residents have made a request for a ballot.”

The motion specified that private renters from non-resident leaseholders and freeholders on estates that faced regeneration should also be included in the ballots.

Speaking after the motion was passed, Ms Berry said:

“I think it’s vitally important that a ballot of residents is held so that any permission for demolition or remodelling of estates comes from the people themselves. The assembly agrees with me and I hope the mayor will too.”

Source: Inside Housing by Emma Snaith

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