London mayor will only fund estate regeneration if backed by residents' ballot

Future estate regeneration plans in London will be refused funding from the Greater London Authority (GLA) unless proposals are approved through resident ballots, mayor Sadiq Khan has announced.

Khan today published a guide to estate regeneration, setting out new conditions for his support for renewal projects on former council estates.

The announcement comes in the wake of a row over the London Borough of Haringey’s plans for a joint venture with developer Lendlease, which have caused protests about "gentrification" in the borough.

The guide stipulates that regeneration schemes on former council estates that involve demolition of existing homes should propose an increase in affordable housing, and no loss of social housing numbers.

It also says scheme promotors must guarantee full rights to remain for tenants and a "fair deal" for leaseholders and freeholders.

A statement from GLA says that the mayor "will help 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 guide proposes that a ‘yes’ vote "is one where there is a simple majority of those voting in favour of the estate regeneration proposal", according to the GLA.

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", it adds.

Khan said: "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."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn backed the document, saying: "Regeneration must put local people first, not property speculators. Too often these large projects have led to social cleansing, jacking up of rents and communities broken apart.

"Labour is committed to giving residents the right to a ballot across the country so that when we’re in government we can deliver real regeneration for the many not the few."

Earlier this week, Westminster City Council confirmed that it had ended its approach of balloting residents on estate regeneration schemes.

A two month consultation on the Better Homes for Local People good practice guide is now open. The guide can be found here

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