Council’s Aylesbury Estate appeal will be scrutinised by cross-party committee for costs and ‘human rights’ concerns

Owen Sheppard (06 October, 2016) Housing Regeneration

Lib Dems called for committee to look at council's hopes to appeal government decision - which blocked their forced buy-out of lease holders' flats

6539The Aylesbury Estate

The council’s decision to appeal the government’s rejection of its attempt to buy-out leaseholders from Phase One of the Aylesbury Estate is to face a scrutiny committee next week.

A cross-party scrutiny committee will meet on Monday to “hold to account” the decisions of council officers and senior councillors who wanted to make a compulsory purchase order (CPO) of eight remaining leaseholders’ flats.

In its decision to block the CPO, the government inspector wrote that Southwark would end up contravening leaseholders’ human rights. It said the CPO would force leaseholders to move far away to find replacement homes and cause them “considerable economic, social and environmental dis-benefits”.

Southwark Lib Dem leader Anood Al-Samerai told the News: “We want to scrutinise the council’s decision to take it to the high court. The inspector’s decision was pretty damning about the way they are treating the leaseholders.

“We are concerned they are going to spend so much money trying to take this to the high court.

“If the government’s decision means councils are made to give residents good deals on their flats, then this is going to set a good precedent.”

A Southwark Labour spokesperson said “The cost of taking a judicial review will be significantly less than the potential of paying leaseholders hundreds of thousands above the market value of their homes. [This] wouldn’t be fair to council tenants and taxpayers who would have to foot the bill.

“This CPO decision is delaying 800 new homes being built on this site, which is not in the interest of residents.

“The council is offering market value plus ten per cent. In the case of leaseholders who actually live on the estate, they are being offered a range of options including shared equity on a new home in the area.

“If the council didn’t appeal the CPO decision, it would mean that regeneration schemes like this couldn’t take place because leaseholders could hold councils to ransom, demanding much higher amounts for their homes than they independently valued to be worth.”

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