Let’s hope Council Leader Peter John is serious when he says he “going to look at” whether residents should be balloted on regenerating their estates.
These words coming from any politician will inevitably be treated with suspicion, especially on the issue of housing and regeneration. But the historic standoff between successive council administrations and residents has little to no chance of improving if we keep to aged old ‘consultation process’.
This new policy of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will no doubt be a winner for national votes, but in London, which has some twenty Labour councils, it’s not so easy a picture.
The lack of funding to build council homes has meant deals with private housing developers are an attractive option. And to allow residents to make a real decision on what can be a series of factors they will have to be properly involved in the planning processes from the start, in financial as well as social terms.
It is the lack of understanding – often because residents have not been armed with all the details – that has caused so much upset over regeneration projects. Whether Corbyn’s ballot will work remains to be seen, but it’s definitely worth looking into.