Cressingham Gardens housing estate to be demolished against residents’ wishes

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, Unite, Housing

Cressingham Gardens, LambethHundreds of Lambeth residents will today demonstrate outside Lambeth Town Hall over the council’s decision to demolish an entire housing estate for regeneration against residents wishes.

The Cressingham Gardens housing estate in Lambeth contains 306 homes and stands right next to Brockwell Park. One hundred of the homes are now privately owned as a result of the right-to-buy scheme and Cressingham Gardens is the fifth estate in Lambeth to be threatened by regeneration.

The estate is made up of an extremely mixed community and home to people from teachers, bus drivers and journalists to retired couples, and single parents. Built in the late 1960s and designed by Ted Hollamby, it has a leafy feel and is completely pedestrianised making it free from cars and safe for the estate’s children to play outside.

Anne Cooper, local resident and Unite Community member said: “The estate is a one-off and could never be replicated. It has a real village feel to it and everyone here knows each other. We are like a family and all look out for one another.

“Some of the properties need updating – new kitchens and bathrooms and some need new roofs. But instead of renovating perfectly decent homes the council want to tear the whole place down and start from scratch. It’s just madness.

“Lambeth Council has stated that all council tenants will be housed back on the estate but they will lose their secure tenancy. Council rents will also go up and as for the 100 privately owned homes those people will lose out massively.”

Some residents who privately own bought their properties as second generation right-to-buy and paid full market value. However they will not be offered full market value when the council demolishes their homes.

Gerlinde Gniewosz, homeowner and Unite Community member said: “To Lambeth Council full market value means the lowest possible valuation and then some more subtracted. It means going from owning a full property to not being able to buy anywhere of the same size in the same area or maybe anywhere in London. Lambeth Council is actively taking people off of the property ladder and it’s criminal.

“We’ve been told we will be offered shared equity or help finding a private rental but we have worked, saved and gone without to get out of private renting. Losing our home will be devastating enough but the fact is we are also probably losing the possibility of ever being a home owner again and the security that offers. What will we have to show for that hard work and what will it mean for the families with children? I dread to think.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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