News from Siân Berry: Gaping holes for resident rights in Mayor's estate guidance

13 December 2016

The Mayor's draft guidance for estate regeneration offers no comfort for residents wanting to prevent demolition.

Sian Berry has responded to the Mayor’s draft ‘good practice guide for estate regeneration’, released today.

The guidance is open to consultation until 14 March 2017.

Sian Berry said:

“This guidance reads like a manual for councils to get their demolition plans through. [1]

“The ‘good practice’ checklists it contains are vague and more or less useless for any Londoners wanting to hold their councils to account over estate regeneration.

“The Mayor should go back to the drawing board. Even the Government produced more useful guidelines last week, which set out clear steps for landlords and councils in a way that was at least specific and transparent, even if it didn’t give practical power to residents to make their own plans. [2]

“This draft from the Mayor actually tells councils not to waste their time consulting on ‘nonviable’ options when the right time to go to residents is before you have developed any options at all.

“It actively discourages councils from using ballots and its definition of a meaningful final say is for councils to ‘consider views’ and then explain why they’re going ahead anyway.

“The gaping hole in these guidelines is any way for residents to propose their own ideas and have these assessed. I have been asking the Mayor to provide expertise and grants for residents to get involved in planning at an early stage and develop their own proposals but this principle is nowhere to be seen.”

Sian Berry wrote to the Deputy Mayor for Housing in September asking for five key principles to be followed in the new estate guidance. [3]

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
     

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