London regeneration ballots come into force

Major estate regeneration schemes involving the demolition of social homes must now have the backing of existing residents before they can receive City Hall funding, under new rules introduced by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Following publication of a draft condition earlier this year, a public consultation found 88% of respondents were supportive of the Mayor’s proposals to make ballots mandatory for schemes where any demolition of social homes is planned, with the aim of putting residents at the centre of decision-making and encouraging landlords to make plans in close consultation with them.

There are estimated to be around 25 estate regeneration schemes underway at any one time in London involving funding from City Hall.

The final version sets out how funding can be requested back when a project is complete if it is found not to honour the original offer from the landlord.

It also makes clear that schemes that have had a ballot in the past must undertake a new ballot on a landlord offer which must be honoured to receive and keep Mayoral funding.

The minimum voting age for the ballots will be 16.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘When estate regeneration is done well, it can improve the lives of existing residents as well as building more social housing. But that has not always been the case. Anyone drawing up plans for estate regeneration must involve local people and must consider what impact their plans will have on people who live there now.

‘That is why, from now on, City Hall funding for significant estate regeneration schemes involving any demolition of social homes will, for the first time, only be approved where there has been a positive residents’ ballot.’

The Mayor also wants councils and housing associations to commit to balloting residents for schemes where his funding is not involved and where he has no power to insist on one.

Monica Barnes, an Optivo resident and vice chair of the Optivo Resident Strategy Group said: ‘It is great that the Mayor’s giving us more of a say over plans to regenerate housing estates. Ballots will really help people like me and other tenants to have a stronger voice.’

The Mayor’s Building Council Homes for Londoners programme aims to build at least 10,000 new council homes in the capital by 2022.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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