News from Siân Berry: Residents can stop wrecking balls as final estate guidance released
People fighting against their homes being demolished have won a significant battle as residents will be balloted about regeneration plans, as Sian Berry AM has repeatedly called for.
The Mayor’s Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration, published today after months of delay, proposes mandatory ballots of residents for schemes where any demolition is planned as a strict condition of his funding
The requirement for ballots to be mandatory and a strict condition of funding reflects exactly what Sian Berry asked for in her response to the draft.
Sian told the Mayor’s to go back to the drawing board after his draft guidance was published in December 2016 because it was ‘worse than useless’ and ‘reads like a manual for councils to get their demolition plans through’.
Sian Berry said:
The Mayor has finally seen sense and offered people living on estates facing regeneration a say in the future of their homes.
He has been slow to bring out his guidance – but I am glad he has listened to the thousands of Londoners who wrote to him and made sure they will have a meaningful say over any plans.
We’ve already seen councils stop using ballots after the Mayor’s weak draft guidance actually cautioned against them – I hope these policies are brought back and every council in London adopts the guidance.
It’s only fair that if your home faces demolition that you can vote against bad plans. Councils and developers who have engaged residents from the very start of drawing up plans would have nothing to fear.”
The Mayor’s manifesto policy and promise to estate residents was that he would:
“Require that estate regeneration only takes place where there is resident support, based on full and transparent consultation, and that demolition is only permitted where it does not result in a loss of social housing, or where other all options have been exhausted, with full rights to return for displaced tenants and a fair deal for leaseholders.”
Sian Berry wrote to the Deputy Mayor for Housing in September 2016 asking for five key principles to be followed in the new estate guidance.
The principles were:
• No residents excluded from involvement in making plans for the area
• Full transparency for information on the current state of estates and the basis for new plans
• Early and wide engagement with residents, when the goals of the regeneration are still open to change
• Expert support for residents to develop their own plans for their areas
• A meaningful final say and real decision-making power over the final options, ideally with a ballot for all residents
On 21 December, the London Assembly unanimously backed Sian’s motion calling for the Mayor to include ballots for residents in his final good practice guide.