The long-awaited court decision on whether Southwark Council can legally buy-out leaseholders from Phase 1 of the Aylesbury Estate will take place on May 9.
Since September, Southwark has been engaged in a legal battle with the secretary of state for communities and local government, Sajid Javid, on whether it can use compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to force out the last few leaseholders.
His Honour Judge Collins gave Southwark the right to its judicial review after an oral hearing in January, in which the judge said the council had an “arguable” case to appeal Mr Javid’s decision.
Mr Javid first rejected the council’s CPO because of human rights concerns: that the small compensation offered to leaseholders leaves them unable to find new homes in the borough.
The News understands that some leaseholders were offered £180,000 for their flats in Phase 1, which contains Chartridge, Chiltern, Arklow and Bradenham. The four blocks have already been emptied of 442 tenants and 35 other leaseholders.
If Southwark wins the May 9 judicial review, the CPOs will go ahead and the leaseholders could be forced to accept the valuations, or equity-share schemes in new homes. If Southwark loses, it will be forced to negotiate new deals for the leaseholders’ homes.
The council’s contractor Erith has already begun demolishing parts of the estate that have been cleared of tenants in Phase 1 and 2.
The overall budget for where the two western sections of the estate stood was stated as being £49.1m.
Following the delays caused by the CPO process, Southwark also made public its plans to budget more money to spend on leaseholder buy-backs in Phases 3 and 4.
In a cabinet meeting report published in September last year, the council said it anticipates having to spend an “additional investment of £3.4m” to “assist with early buy-back for leaseholders in phases 3 and 4, avoiding long delays for leaseholders who wish to move on”.
The council aims eventually to redevelop the entire 1960s estate with 3,500 homes (a net increase of 1,200). 50 per cent of which will be a mixture of social-rent and shared-equity. The other half will be sold privately.
Leaseholders and the 35% Campaign will also have a barrister to represent them at the May 9 hearing, which has been crowdfunded from over £7,350 of donations. Visit www.gofundme.com and search “Aylesbury right to a community” to see their crowdfunding page.