News from Siân Berry: Mayor’s u-turn on residents’ ballots must also reverse council policy
The Mayor’s new u-turn on giving people living on estates a vote to welcome or reject regeneration plans must mean ballots are re-adopted by Westminster Council, says Sian Berry AM.
Sian Berry received confirmation from Westminster Council that it has dropped its previous policy of giving a ballot to residents facing estate regeneration. 
In the letter, responding to questions from Sian prompted by local resident concerns, the Council Leader confirms: “we have moved away from this very limited form of consultation”, and says “There are a variety of reasons for moving away from a vote, including the low turn-out these votes attract, the fact that they represent a moment in time only, whereas regeneration schemes are long and complex”.
Sian Berry AM says:
The Mayor’s good practice guide is supposed to help people living on estates – but we can see the delay is bringing it out hurt residents in Westminster who lost their right to ballots.
Now the Mayor has firmly backed ballots for residents I hope Westminster reverses it’s bad decision to drop this policy.
Councils across London should adopt not only the policy but the spirit of the Mayor’s guide, and make sure there is full and early engagement with residents before any plans are drawn up.
This is the only way to guarantee plans are decent and properly engage residents when they are put together.
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. 
Notes to editors
 In response to a letter from Sian Berry, who was concerned that residents on the Ebury Bridge estate had been denied a new vote on a significantly changed scheme, which had previously been backed by residents, Council leader Nicky Aitken has confirmed that the policy is officially dropped.
Both letters can be read here https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/sb_westminster_council_let...
 Good Practice Guide for Estate Regeneration, Feb 2018 https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/ground-breaking-plans-f...
 Involve citizens in regeneration decisions, Assembly says, Dec 2017 https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/assembly/involve-citizens-in-re...
 On the Ebury Bridge estate, local councillors are campaigning for residents to be given a referendum on any new plans – see http://www.churchilllabour.co.uk/tag/ebury-bridge-estate/