A collection of last remaining Aylesbury Estate residents say they have been dealt a lousy deal by Southwark Council on flats to replace the ones they are being forced out of.
There are eleven Aylesbury lease holders waiting to hear the outcome of their legal challenges against the council’s attempts to make compulsory purchases on their flats.
In the meantime, they have been advised by Southwark Council to “express an interest” in equity shares of flats at the soon-to-be-completed Harvard Gardens block, located in Sedan Way, Walworth.
But two of these lease holders have spotted that the Harvard Gardens flats recommended to them with a price tag of up to £695,000 could be found for around £100,000 less on the open market.
Speaking to the News, Beverley Robinson and Agnes Kabuto, both Aylesbury lease holders who are part of phases 1B and 1C of the council’s plans to buy up the estate, said they felt dismayed that they “may never be able to own their own homes again”.
“The remaining lease holders here have been offered to show an interest in an equity share of less than 50 per cent on a two-bedroom flat, supposedly valued between £620,000 and 695,000,” said Beverley.
“But we’ve found these same flats being advertised by L&Q from £560,000 on RightMove. Why are being quoted a value that more than what’s on the open market, and basically only offered a chance to own a less-than-half share of these new flats? It’s a joke.
“The council haven’t told us how much we’re going to be given if they successfully make the compulsory purchase orders, but it will never be enough for us to own our own properties again.”
The compulsory purchase orders are currently going through an appeal, which is due to be resolved in April, by which point the council could earn the right to evict all eleven lease holders from the Aylesbury Estate. But Agnes, Beverley and their nine colleagues say this could leave them homeless for a month.
“The other problem with this offer on the Harvard Gardens flats is we have so far been told we won’t be able to move in until the end of May. But we could already have been forced out of our flats weeks before then,” Beverley said.
Agnes, 57, said: “I own my property outright. With the deal they are offering us we will only have a share – that’s it.
“We have been asked to ‘express an interest in these flats’ but we have not even been told what value this share is going to be.”
Cllr Mark Williams, cabinet member for housing of Southwark Council, whose long-term aim is to demolish and redevelop the Aylesbury, said their plan was the “best way forward”.
Cllr Williams said: “The regeneration of the Aylesbury is the best way forward to create new, mixed-tenure homes in the area and improve living conditions, and this is recognised by the majority of residents on the estate. This is a difficult time for the leaseholders affected by the regeneration, which is why we are providing a range of options for them. This includes shared equity which will help lower income leaseholders stay in the area.
“The prices the leaseholders are quoting are guide prices only and the prices they’ve been given were also clearly marked as indicative. The percentage of shared equity will depend on the final prices and how much equity they have from their homes. Leaseholders have been invited to express an interest only at this point and won’t have to sign up to anything yet. Shared equity is an opportunity for them to use their equity to stay in the local area.”