The second public inquiry into Southwark Council’s compulsory purchase of homes on the Aylesbury Estate has been adjourned, as leaseholders continue to push Southwark Council and the Notting Hill Housing Trust to offer a better deal for homeowners.
The inquiry was delayed at the end of last month after overrunning, and is set to reconvene on April 17, 2018, for a fortnight.
Southwark Council wants the government to give the go-ahead to redeveloping homes on the estate, after leaseholders launched a legal challenge to the terms offered.
In partnership with the Notting Hill Housing Trust, the council is demolishing the estate and building new homes as part of its on-going regeneration plan.
A previous inquiry ruled against Southwark Council’s Compulsory Purchase Order to force the few remaining leaseholders to leave, but the decision was subsequently overturned.
Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid objected to a policy which required leaseholders to give up all but £16,000 of their savings if they wanted a new shared ownership or shared equity home.
This policy has now been changed, but leaseholders say it is still unfair that they are means-tested in seeking rehoming assistance from the council, especially when the amount paid by the council for their property is unlikely to buy a ‘like for like’ property elsewhere in Southwark.
Cllr Mark Williams, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and New Homes, told the News: “Throughout the regeneration we have continued to listen and respond to what leaseholders are saying.
“We have looked at how we can tailor our rehousing offer for resident leaseholders so that it can meet some of the needs being raised by the remaining resident leaseholders across the estate.
“We are committed to the regeneration of the Aylesbury Estate and will continue to work with residents to find the best solution to their re-housing needs.”
Homeowner Beverley Robinson, from the Aylesbury Leaseholders Action Group, said: “The Aylesbury Leaseholders have been challenging for three years the unjust, unfair and intrusive rehousing policies of Southwark Council and Notting Hill Housing Trust.
“The leaseholders are now embarking upon the second Public Inquiry in as little as two years, after winning a landmark case at the first Public Inquiry in 2015.
“This resulted in Southwark dropping their policy requiring leaseholders to spend all their savings, bar £16000 on a new property.
“Notting Hill Housing Trust has also committed to mirroring this policy change. Hopefully NHHT future policy commitments will go further by allowing leaseholders to retain their home loss payment to use as they wish, and not the current mandatory requirement that leaseholder must plough this home loss payment back into the replacement property.
“Unfortunately, even with the current savings policy change, leaseholders will still be faced with giving up their savings, as a means to bridge the affordability gap, to secure a rehousing option to remain in the area. Change needs to happen soon, not next month, not next week, not tomorrow but now, to ensure all leaseholders on the Aylesbury estate get a fair rehousing deal.”