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Khan looks to ballot residents over regeneration schemes

Sadiq Khan has revealed plans to ballot estate residents about regeneration schemes.

The mayor of London published his first ever City Hall guide to estate regeneration in London last week, which proposes introducing mandatory ballots of residents as a strict condition of receiving funding from his office.

The proposed ballots will apply to schemes funded by the mayor where they involve the construction of at least 150 homes and the demolition of any relevant tenanted/ leasehold/ freehold homes.

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.

‘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,’ said Mr Khan.

‘By involving residents and putting social housing first, we can make sure plans for estate regeneration help build a city for all Londoners.’

The leader of Lambeth council, Lib Peck, welcomed the mayor’s plans and said: ‘I fully support the mayor’s view that residents must be at the heart of decision-making when it comes to estate regeneration, which reflects our approach in Lambeth.

‘We’re building a new generation of estates with no loss of social housing and a guarantee of a new home for every resident on each rebuilt estate, having secured the largest mayoral grant funding of any London borough, without the involvement of private developers.’

Commenting on the new plans by the London mayor, the director of the think tank Centre for London, Ben Rogers, said: ‘Too often in the past, developers have failed to secure support from local residents for their plans.

‘This has created local tensions and threatened the whole process of delivering more homes. Unless we get better at winning support for regeneration projects it will be difficult to deliver the homes that we need.

‘The proposal for compulsory ballots puts existing residents’ views at the heart of the redevelopment process,’ added Mr Rogers.

‘But it could also frustrate the supply of social and affordable housing in London. We will need to be careful to ensure that the voices of families on housing waiting lists and other Londoners in need of decent and affordable housing are also heard in the process.’

The announcement by the London mayor came in the same week that the leader of Haringey council, Claire Kober announced she will be stepping down in May, amid continued controversy surrounding the borough’s Haringey Development Vehicle regeneration plans.

In her resignation statement, Ms Kober said: ‘Tackling poverty and inequality has always been my priority. Where this is entrenched, it is my view that social and economic change is most successfully delivered alongside physical regeneration – indeed I think the former is impossible without the latter in these cases.

‘That is why I am passionate about both improving education and delivering regeneration.’

  • Read more about the London mayor’s guide to estate regeneration here.

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