The council’s flagship pledge to build 10,000 new council homes is ambitious and to many critics unachievable, so the Labour administration not guaranteeing a mere 21 residents a new home when knocking theirs down is playing right into the cynics’ hands.
These council residents in Edmonton Court in Rotherhithe have been told that when their 21 homes are demolished they cannot be promised new flats on a development being built on the estate’s Renforth Street car park.
To build a new development specifically under the 10,000 new homes banner and simultaneously dislodge 21 council tenants on an existing estate, just yards away, is paradoxical in the extreme.
How can residents really believe that the 10,000 new homes pledges can be won when they can’t reassure 21 residents of their future?
The massive turmoil of being decanted from your home without any certainty of where you are going to end up cannot be underestimated, especially for people like 90-year-old Eric Paule-Drysdale, who has lived on the estate for 40 odd years.
This is nothing on the scale of previous decanting projects like the Heygate regeneration and more recently the Aylesbury Estate. If we are to meet the 10,000 new homes target in Southwark in the next 30 years to combat London’s widening housing crisis, then modest projects like this should be done easily – otherwise people will have little confidence that the main project and this bold election pledge will ever be meet.