Replacement held to breach human rights

The provision of 24 elderly people's bungalows on land in Hampshire has been declared unacceptable by an inspector who decided that the human rights of existing tenants had not been properly taken into account.

The scheme involved the demolition of 12 bungalows as part of a comprehensive redevelopment of a larger estate containing substandard dwellings. The appellants explained that they had worked closely with the local authority to ensure that the existing tenants were rehoused during the redevelopment process with as little disturbance as possible.

However, the residents claimed that the consultation had been carried out in an uncaring manner. In particular, they alleged that the appellants had treated the residents' association with disdain and focused only on ensuring that the redevelopment proceeded as quickly as possible.

The inspector noted that article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights gives everyone a right to respect for their private and family life, while article 1 seeks to ensure that the property of existing residents is protected. He recognised that the Housing Act 2004 provides for tenants to be relocated in areas subject to redevelopment proposals. However, he pointed out that residents holding assured tenancies could not be relocated unless they voluntarily agreed.

Because it was clear that some of the tenants did not wish to be relocated, he concluded that the appellants' failure to ensure that all the options and implications had been fully explained to them meant that the interference with their rights would be disproportionate and constitute a breach of their human rights under articles 1 and 8.

DCS Number 100-050-411

Inspector Martin Champion; Written representations.

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