Heygate Estate Residents Rebuff Lend Lease ‘Masterplan’

Lend Lease’s plans for the regeneration of the Heygate Estate were unveiled this week on Walworth Road to much public interest.

The housing will consist of 2,500 new units providing accommodation for up to 4,000 people. The units will be split between high and low-rise buildings built around a central park. There will be a 25% affordable housing allocation as per Southwark Council’s guidelines. This equates to 625 ‘affordable’ units, half shared ownership, half housing association. The existing Heygate estate consists of 1,200, now almost completely derelict, units housing around 3,500 people in 100% affordable housing.

100 metres away in the communal gardens of the now empty Heygate estate the few remaining residents have organised something of a rebuttal. A permanent exhibition has been laid out to address concerns that many local residents have over the planned redevelopment.

Interestingly, there is very little emotional content in the display. The statistics speak for themselves — the most striking of which is the examination into the term ‘affordable’. Once this was classed by surveys into the incomes of tenants in council housing, but now it means a home with a fixed rent at 80% of the market value. In real terms the difference between affordability for existing Southwark council tenants and ‘affordable’ housing proposed by Lend Lease is a 300% increase in rent. The earlier figure of 625 units must not therefore be taken too seriously. Southwark Council promises that in the wider regeneration of the area there will be more ‘affordable’ housing than was available in the Heygate. The reality of the situation is a huge decrease in genuinely affordable housing in the wider Elephant and Castle area.

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  • Richardfawley

    Social clensing’s a bitch

  • Guest

    Well, if they can’t get rid of poverty, they’re going to settle for getting rid of the poor.

  • Sam Frankl

    I think it’s most troubling when looked at along side the coalitions insistence that a reinforcement of family values would prevent mass social unrest of the kind we saw in summer reoccurring. Cameron even appealed to COE officials to help him in his quest…interesting thing about family values is that they mean precious little when the family has absolutely nowhere to live. The majority of these development sites in London are 1 bedroom/studio apartments!

  • Mr R Singh

    The local people in this area have been misled and pushed around/forced out by corrupt Southwark  for too long whichever Labour or Liberal Councillors are in control. 

  • Sam Frankl

    I think it’s a social policy that transcends party-political lines. There seems to be general consensus among politicians that London’s now absurdly high land value should be in the hands of the private sector. What makes it worse is that the money from the sale of these estates will certainly not be reappropriated into social housing.

  • Admin

    The sale of the Heygate, or any other council estate, can be viewed in two ways:
    1/ The individual flats sold to private buyers, this is acceptable as profit for a company – or few will argue against this most of the time.
    2/ The land the original estate was on. How a council disposes of land for rebuilding/gentrification is something that should be in the public domain as it is the public’s money. In the case of the Heygate the sale/lease of the land is covered by ‘commercial sensitivity’. As the deal is now done there can be nothing commercially sensitive about it, paying at Companies House for accounts  it should be possible to gain some idea of the deal. Could it be that it is the council who are sensitive about the finances?

  • Kibera

    The Heygate was a dirty crime ridden slum – and it was made that way by the people who lived there. Being poor doesn’t mean having to live like that. Why do people feel so sorry for them? 
    The message above suggests Colombians lived there. What are they doing with social housing when there are thousands of key workers without accommodation ?  
    Southwark Council are now going back to pre 1972 rules when you could only get social housing if you are working – the Labour parties social engineering policy only served to destroy perfectly good houses and flats and the Heygate is a perfect example. 

    • Sam Frankl

      In 1998, prior to the decision to demolish, Southwark commissioned a report on the estate. The report concluded that Heygate had an ‘unusually low crime rate.’ The image of the estate that has developed since is due to the huge number of empty dwellings. The estate became dirty because Southwark stopped sending in maintenance officials to reinforce their decision to close the estate. The heating and lighting even got switched off while tenants were still living inside. The Columbia thing is completely separate, that’s just some graffiti I saw on the side of one of the blocks but I don’t see why a Columbian immigrant shouldn’t be living in social housing if they’ve moved to the top of the housing list. Let me know if you’d like to see the full report and I can send it over to you.

  • http://cellentano.heroku.com rubygrade

    It looks like the misplaced ‘For Sale’ sign has now been removed. It appears that the estate agent wasn’t aware that the Heygate has already been sold…:
    http://betterelephant.org/blog/2012/03/09/the-heygate-is-not-for-sale/