Lambeth Council’s Cabinet has approved a recommendation to rebuild the Central Hill estate.
The decision, taken following extensive discussions at a meeting on Thursday (23 March), means that all homes on the estate will be replaced with better homes, built to modern standards. There will also be more affordable homes built on the estate, and specifically more homes let at council level rents.
The development will be led by the council, through Homes for Lambeth, and not by an external private developer.
A report to the Cabinet meeting said rebuilding Central Hill was “the only practical way to improve living conditions for people living on the estate”. It added: “Many families on the Central Hill estate are living in very poor-quality homes, many facing problems with damp, mould, cold bridging and noise transference, while the design of the overall estate creates serious accessibility problems for older and mobility-disabled residents.”
A formal consultation exercise carried out last Autumn (available here from pg. 229-257) showed that 55% of council tenants at Central Hill supported the proposal to completely rebuild the estate. A majority of homeowners and private tenants opposed the proposal.
Rebuilding would see all the 460 properties on the estate replaced. All 320 existing council properties would be replaced with good-quality new homes at council-level rents, with a lifetime tenancy – meaning there would be no loss of social housing. Resident leaseholders would be offered affordable options to stay on the estate.
In addition, the proposal would include a further 500 to 750 new homes on Central Hill – with as many as possible affordable and at council-level rent.
Following the cabinet decision to rebuild the estate, detailed planning work – including choosing a Development Management Team – will now be carried out. No building work will start until some time in 2019/20 at the earliest.
Lambeth is investing hundreds of millions of pounds in bringing existing council homes up to the Lambeth Housing Standard (LHS); however, the budget shortfall in the LHS Programme has grown from an estimated £56m in 2012, to the latest estimate of over £85m. The costs of refurbishing Central Hill would be substantially more than the average cost of other estates across the borough, and refurbishment would not address the fundamental design issues of the estate.
Having looked at all options, the council consulted with residents last autumn. Two-thirds of households participated in the consultation and the proposal to rebuild the estate was backed by 55% of council tenants. Across all residents, the proposal was backed by 49% in favour to 38% against with leaseholders against the proposal by 51% to 31% in favour.
Resident homeowners and Lambeth tenants on the estate will be protected by newly-improved Key Guarantees, which were also agreed at the cabinet meeting. These guarantees mean that:
- Every council tenant will be able to move to a brand-new home at council level rent on Central Hill with a new Assured Lifetime Tenancy
- No council tenant will be made homeless because of the rebuilding
- The new homes will be built to meet current council tenants’ needs
- Affordable options will be provided to assist resident homeowners to stay on the estate