Estate regeneration ballots transition arrangements

Meeting: 
MQT on 2018-03-22
Session date: 
March 22, 2018
Reference: 
2018/0813
Question By: 
Sian Berry
Organisation: 
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Will you delay signing off any new GLA funding contracts for estate regeneration until after the technical consultation on your new funding condition to require resident ballots is finished, and the new arrangements are fully in place?

Answer

Answer for Estate regeneration ballots transition arrangements

Answer for Estate regeneration ballots transition arrangements

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Thank you, Chairman.  Good estate regeneration can deliver safer and better-quality homes for local people and provide a valuable contribution to the overall supply of homes.  However, if not done properly, estate regeneration can lead to disagreement between residents and their landlords, resulting in residents feeling they have not been consulted, social housing being lost, and displaced tenants and leaseholders getting a bad deal.

 

That is why in February [2018] I published my Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration, which sets out the best practice approaches and principles I expect to be followed in estate regeneration schemes in London.  I am sure you welcome this.  This Guide was published following extensive consultation on a draft last year.  My final Guide is designed to help improve the standard of consultation and involvement by putting residents at the heart of developing plans wherever estate regeneration is proposed.

 

I set out in the Guide two key ways in which I intend to use the powers available to me.  First, I will use my planning powers on schemes of 150 homes or more, the normal threshold for applications to be referred to me, to ensure no net loss of affordable housing and an uplift in affordable homes wherever possible.  Second, in the Guide I also make clear how I will use my funding powers to require residents’ support through a ballot for major schemes.  That is why I am consulting on a proposed funding condition to require residents’ ballots where GLA funding is sought.  The consultation outlines proposed transitional arrangements that will apply following the implementation of my new funding condition.  These arrangements are designed to ensure that the condition applies only to new proposals for estate regeneration rather than those which are already underway.

 

It may seem clear-cut for some schemes, whether they are new or underway, but I recognise there has to be a cut-off point somewhere, which is why I am consulting on the details of these arrangements.

 

I can confirm that no GLA funding contracts for new estate regeneration schemes will be signed until after the consultation has closed and the precise details of the funding condition have been finalised and published.

 

Sian Berry AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.  You have confirmed that you would not be signing off any new GLA funding contracts during this period of consultation before your new funding guidance comes in.  Is that correct?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I can confirm that no GLA-funded contracts for new estate regeneration schemes will be signed until after the consultation has closed and the precise details of the funding condition have been finalised and published.

 

Sian Berry AM:  When you say ‘new estate regeneration schemes’, do you mean that you just will not sign any new contracts?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I will be signing no new funding contracts until the consultation has ended and we publish the final condition.

 

Sian Berry AM:  Great.  That is what I thought you said.  I wanted to say something about some research I have commissioned through YouGov.  This was with ‑‑

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Have I seen it?

 

Sian Berry AM:  No, not yet.  I am just telling you right now.  This is with a representative sample of Londoners.  I know the consultation came out very much in favour of ballots, but so does the poll of Londoners.  64% of people agreed with your new policy and 13% opposed the idea.  I hope you will find that encouraging to know that Londoners as a whole think you are doing the right thing by putting the right to a ballot in place for estate residents.

 

Just a few more things about the pause in contracts, if that is OK.  What will you do when it comes back for councils who are trying to use the exception that you have set out where you say you might take into account consultations already held and not require a ballot, even if those consultations were not a ballot held under the terms of your guidance?  Will you be seeking to allow councils to say their previous consultations were OK?  That seems to be what your draft technical consultation says.

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  If you require funding for an estate regeneration that involves the demolition of even one home - and it has to be a scheme of more than 150 for the reasons you are aware of - then there needs to be a ballot.  The issue you may be referring to is where there is planning permission for a redevelopment or regeneration and there will be X per cent of affordable homes and the council says, “We can have X plus Y per cent, even more affordable homes, with some financial support”.  That is what you ‑‑

 

Sian Berry AM:  No, this is an exception to holding a ballot.  If the council has already held its own consultation, even if it is not under the strict terms of your guidance - ie not actually a ballot but a door-to-door survey or something else - and if that has already happened, you have said that you might let them have an exception to a ballot.  Is that right?  Surely you should be sticking to the guidance for everything, especially if you are going to have a pause.  It gives them time to do a ballot.

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I have set out my answer today.  The consultation is the consultation.  The expectation you should have of me is, when it comes to us looking at the final funding code, I will be saying to anybody who wants funding, “You must, if you are demolishing a home, have a ballot”.  There is the discussion about the transitional arrangements for those schemes already in play where there are two separate issues.  One is planning permission and one is funding.  There could be a situation where a funding agreement has been signed off before this is happening where permission has not gone through.  That is an example where we would be breaching contract to remove the funding, but my expectation would be not simply consultation and engagement.  I would be hoping, although I cannot force you to retrospectively because the agreement has been signed ‑‑

 

Sian Berry AM:  Yes, but you have not signed it.  You are expecting them to get them with ballots there?

 

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Exactly right.

 

Sian Berry AM:  Great.  Thank you, Chairman.