Sadiq proposes Estate Ballots before regen

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has published a City Hall guide to estate regeneration in London, which aims to protect social housing, and proposes mandatory ballots of residents for schemes where any demolition is planned as a strict condition of any Mayoral funding.

The ‘Better Homes for Local People’ good practice guide sets out guidelines on estate regeneration. The Mayor says he is “determined to use his funding and planning powers to their fullest extent to protect social housing”.

The guide seeks to empower tenants, leaseholders and freeholders in developing regeneration plans with their landlords. It forms a key part of the Mayor’s broader calls for social housing residents to have a bigger say in the future of their estates following last year’s horrific fire at Grenfell Tower.

Sadiq first highlighted the important role that ballots play in his draft good practice guide published in December 2016 and has, over the last year, developed plans to make positive ballots a condition of any future City Hall funding for new estate regeneration projects. His detailed proposals for ballots, also published today, will be separately consulted on for two months to become a condition of funding for new schemes in the capital.

There are estimated to be around 25 estate regeneration schemes underway at any one time in London involving funding from City Hall, and under the Mayor’s plans all such schemes would, in future, require a successful ballot outcome before their funding could be approved.

The Mayor’s guide explains what he believes Londoners living on social housing estates should expect from their landlords when regeneration is proposed – with full consultation and involvement from the outset being crucial. Where demolition is proposed, the Mayor wants to see councils and housing associations follow his ‘Better Homes for Local People’ principles by providing an increase in affordable homes – and as a minimum, no loss of social housing; full rights to remain or return for tenants; a fair deal for leaseholders and freeholders.

The Mayor wants to see these principles applied as widely as possible, and says he will use his draft new London Plan to ensure no net loss of social housing and an increase in affordable homes wherever possible. He wants to make sure there is clear resident support for major schemes that involve any demolition through his proposed condition that Mayoral funding in future will be dependent on a positive resident ballot on landlords’ plans.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “We need more social housing in London, not less, which is why I will use all my powers to make sure that any plans for estate regeneration protect existing social housing and take every opportunity to build more.

“My guide sets out how I will use my investment powers in a way they have never been used before, by requiring resident support through a ballot for new plans involving demolition where City Hall funding is involved.

“I want to make sure people living on social housing estates, who have the greatest interest in their future, are at the heart of any decisions from the outset. By involving residents and putting social housing first, we can make sure plans for estate regeneration help build a city for all Londoners.”

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