Agenda item

Public Question Time (15 Minutes)

To receive any questions from members of the public which have been submitted in advance of the meeting in accordance with the cabinet procedure rules. The deadline for the receipt of public questions is midnight Wednesday 3 May 2017.


1.  Public Question from Beverley Robinson


Aylesbury item 11 


Paragraph 35 -  Notting Hill Housing Trust (NHHT's) commits to assist the rehousing of tenants, and tenants are referred to in paragraph 36:


Why is there no mention of leaseholders in these paragraphs?




The paragraph notes the renewed commitments set out within the Delivery Agreement with Notting Hill Housing Trust (NHHT) in relation to delivery dates, rehousing of tenants and other performance indicators.  See Appendix 2 of the report.


The pre-existing commitments within the principal Development Partnership Agreement regarding the provision of shared equity homes for leasehold residents continue to apply.  They are not repeated within the Delivery Agreement.


2.  Public Question from Toby Eckersley


Noting the likely strain on the council's finances (report: paragraphs 37, 38 and 47) and the council's refurbishment scheme for the high-rise Maydew House (adding five more storeys), why is there not a review of the refurbishment case for all or part of the remaining buildings on the Aylesbury?




The council has previously considered options for the refurbishment of the estate but found them to be unviable or unfeasible and took the decision to redevelop the estate. 


The council has an existing contractual agreement with a development partner for the redevelopment of the estate.  Planning consent for the demolition and redevelopment of the estate has been granted and this position was tested at public inquiry and the planning inspector and secretary of state accepted this position. 


The demolition of vacant buildings within the estate has now commenced, in accordance with the report to cabinet of September 2016.  The resource implications referenced in this report refer to that previous cabinet decision in relation to the cost of demolition of existing blocks.  The report notes that there are no additional resource implications resulting from this report.


Supplemental question


Toby Eckersley asked a supplemental question relating to ‘previous consideration’ and suggested would it be sensible to give it some reconsideration as the decision was taken by the 2005 meeting of the executive.


3.  Public Question from Eltayeb Hassan


Why wasn't I told that the council will only accept applications for assistance in rehousing from homeowners who purchased their property on or before the 27 of September 2005? And why should we be excluded now since we never knew about this decision until 26 of January 2015?




The council’s rehousing policy for the Aylesbury regeneration was agreed by council executive in September 2006, and reaffirmed by cabinet in December 2010.  This set that rehousing assistance through the council should be provided to leaseholders who met the following criteria:


·  Had acquired their property either by Right to Buy or on open market prior to 27 September 2005

·  Had submitted an application to commence the process of the Right to Buy prior to 27 September 2005

·  And that the leaseholder must be in actual occupation of the property for at least 1 year prior to the acquisition of the property.


Since September 2005 the council has very widely publicised the regeneration of the Aylesbury estate, and this policy is therefore in place to prevent rehousing assistance from being directed to persons who have intentionally sought to benefit from the council’s decision to proceed with the regeneration of the estate.


Since the original policy decision the council and Creation Trust have proactively advertised these criteria through rehousing events held on the Aylesbury and the council has included the criteria in all leaseholder guides produced and distributed to leaseholders since the executive decision in September 2006.


Supplemental question


Eltayeb Hassan advised  that in exercising his right to buy it was not his intention to make money but to be able to continue to live in Southwark as a resident and asked a question in respect of housing assistance.


Councillor Mark Williams responded by confirming that efforts will continue to be made to seek a solution.


4.  Public Question from Victoria Briden


Councillor Mark Williams says in his foreword the aim is that residents should "directly benefit" from the Aylesbury regeneration: what will be offered to resident leaseholders in phases 2 and 3 so as to provide them with a hope of a better situation than that facing leaseholders in phase 1b/1c?




Residents will benefit from significant investment in the delivery of new homes within the area and high quality of built environment, including new parks and public open spaces, as well as into the wide range of new community facilities being delivered, such as at the Amersham site which will include a new library, health facilities, nursery and community space.


In addition to a range of rehousing options to suit individuals’ personal circumstances, existing resident leaseholders on the estate have already been offered the opportunity to purchase brand new homes on shared equity terms at a number of new developments in the surrounding area including Albany Place, Camberwell Fields, Harvard Gardens. Resident leaseholders in later phases will also have the opportunity to purchase new homes delivered within the First Development Site on shared equity terms.


Supplemental question


Victoria Briden talked about her frustration with the alternatives/options available and not wanting to enter into shared ownership schemes.


Councillor Mark Williams outlined the assistance in place and that further meetings can be held to discuss rehousing options to seek a solution.


5.  Public Question from Agnes Kabuto


Does any surplus generated by the regeneration scheme have any bearing on the remuneration of Notting Hill Housing Trust (NHHT's) directors and/or senior employees, and is the cost of purchasing leasehold interests a factor in calculating the surplus.   Is the surplus shared with the council? 




The cost of securing vacant possession of the estate, including the cost of purchasing remaining leasehold interests, falls to the council and is met within existing council budget allocations. These costs are not met directly from the scheme and are not therefore a factor in assessing any future development receipts. 


The council will benefit from a guaranteed fixed minimum land receipt on the First Development Site.  Should additional development receipts be generated from future sales, both parties would benefit from a share of any net surplus that may be generated. 


The council cannot comment on NHHT’s policy in relation to remuneration for its staff.  It should be noted, however, that NHHT’s staff costs are not directly funded for out of the scheme


6.  Public Question from Aysen Dennis


I will be coming to the meeting on behalf of Wendover community tenants and residents association (TRA), and would like to ask the council about Thurlow Lodge Tenants Hall. We want to know why our tenants' hall has been given to the regeneration department to put out to tender, and what process would be required to transfer its administration back to the housing department (Ian Briney's list) so that we can be granted use and access on the same basis as other TRAs.




Following the winding up of the Thurlow Lodge Management Committee in January 2017, the management of the hall has reverted back to the Council.  Thurlow Lodge Community Hall forms part of Wendover, which is in an active phase of rehousing on the Aylesbury estate.  There are currently only 90 secure tenants and 32 leaseholders remaining in Wendover, with the Council expecting to achieve vacant possession of the building in approximately two years. 


As part of the winding up of Thurlow Lodge Management Committee there was a discussion with the T&RA representatives who formed part of the management committee as to the requirements of the T&RAs active on the estate moving forward.  Following those discussions, and taking into account both of the limited lifespan of the hall before demolition and the active rehousing of Wendover residents the council took the decision to therefore seek a not for profit community organisation that has the capacity to manage the Hall safely and effectively as well as in a way that covers the costs of operating it so that it continues to benefit the community as a whole for the time that the hall can be safely operated.  In order that this process aligned with and complimented community and other interim uses active on the estate through the regeneration, this process was managed by the council’s Regeneration team working closely with colleagues in housing.


Discussions over the future use of the hall are ongoing, but the council is committed to ensuring that all of the three active T&RAs on the Aylesbury estate, Thurlow Lodge, Aylesbury and Wendover Community T&RA are treated fairly and equitably in terms access to Thurlow Lodge Community Hall until its demolition as part of the regeneration of the estate.


Supplemental question


Aysen Dennis asked a question trying to establish the intentions about the plans for Thurlow Lodge Community Hall.


Councillor Fiona Colley responded by outlining the process of trying to find a group to run the community centre and seeking invitations of interest.


7.  Public Question from Stephen Dogbatse


Aylesbury item Para 27 states that without considerable amount of investment in Phase 3

(Taplow , Northchurch 1-56, East street and 218 East street has only a five years Life? Is the report on which this assessment is base to expenditure incurred the warm dry safe programmer on phase 3 building? How much was that expenditure.




The council’s warm dry safe programme included a package of essential repairs for blocks on the Aylesbury estate.  Package 1 of the Aylesbury WDS works included the blocks 1-215 Taplow and 1-78 Northchurch.  These works comprised kitchen and bathroom replacement, internal electrical rewiring, improvement of access and fire safety measures, asbestos testing and removal, renewal of roofing and balcony and walkway repairs, overhaul of windows and other general repairs.  No works were carried out to 218 East Street as part of this package.  The total cost of the works was £2,228,808 excluding fees.  These works commenced October 2014 and completed in August 2015 and were intended to allow for an approximate 7-year lifespan.