Barnet tenants back estate regeneration plans in first ballot under new mayoral rules

Residents of a north London housing estate have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the demolition and rebuilding of their housing association estate, under new consultation rules introduced by London mayor Sadiq Khan.

Regeneration plans backed: Westhorpe Gardens and Mills Grove estate in Barnet
Regeneration plans backed: Westhorpe Gardens and Mills Grove estate in Barnet

In July, Khan implemented new rules new rules requiring estate regeneration plans in London to be approved through resident ballots before receiving funding from the Greater London Authority.

This week, housing association Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing (MVTH) announced that 75 per cent of residents of the Westhorpe Gardens and Mills Grove estate in Barnet, north London, voted in favour of redevelopment plans in the first ballot held under the new requirements.

Geeta Nanda, chief executive of the association, said: "We are delighted that the majority of residents voted ‘yes’ and put their trust in us to place them at the heart of our proposals for the renewal of their estate. We have secured not only their consent, but their input too following extensive consultation."

Initial plans for the estate would see the demolition of the 102 homes on the estate – all social rented – and their replacement with around 250 new homes, of which 80 per cent would be affordable.

All current tenants will be rehoused on same rent in similar-sized property with the same tenancy rights, the housing association has promised.

Nearly 66 per cent of 108 eligible residents took part in the vote, which they cast by post, text or telephone, or online.

MTVH said it will submit a detailed planning application to London Borough of Barnet in the next few months.

James Murray, London’s deputy mayor for housing and residential development, said: "The mayor wants Londoners who live on estates to have a real say when regeneration is planned for where they live, which is why he has put ballots at the heart of his approach to estate regeneration."

In March, before the introduction of the ballot rules, Metropolitan Housing Trust, a predecessor to MVTH, won approval for another estate regeneration project in south London, the Clapham Park Estate.

The ballot rules were introduced in the wake of controversy about a number of high-profile regeneration projects in the capital, including London Borough of Haringey’s proposals to regenerate an estate in partnership with developer LendLease.

These proposals were finally dropped in July, after councillors opposing the project took control of the council after May's local elections.

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