|Developer's perspective & that of residents at odds|
A head of steam is building up o the South Kilburn Estate about what residents and tenants see as the 'social cleansing' involved in the Estate's regeneration.
The motion below was passed at a recent meeting of the Alpha, Gorefield and Canterbury Tenants' and Residents' Association.
We’ve had enough!
Motion to the AGM of Alpha, Gorefield & Canterbury TRA
This meeting notes that regeneration was sold to residents of South Kilburn on the basis that it would provide improved housing and living conditions for all existing residents.
* There are fewer dwellings at social rent than there were before regeneration;
* Some of the new flats are smaller than those they replaced;
* The new flats have been let at higher rents than was the case.
* Flats are being sold and rented at prices which existing South Kilburn tenants have no chance of affording;
* Luxury flats are being advertised on the Far Eastern market, clearly as an investment, rather than social housing;
* Locked gardens are being created, even though they replace what was common green space.
This all amounts to a “social cleansing” of South Kilburn, with many residents forced to move to other areas.
Moreover, we note that in its operations in the developments off Cambridge Avenue, Catalyst and Willmott Dixon have:
*Repeatedly breached the hours they are permitted to work and the times that construction vehicles arrive on site;
* Either reneged on promises to consult residents about aspects of the development, or simply not consulted;
* refused to pay compensation to residents when disrupting utilities:
*repeatedly not enforced their own guidelines for employees’ behaviour in the area;
* not ensured that their operations do not damage local infrastructure, such as blocking drains and damaging road and pavement surfaces.
We believe this amounts to contempt for residents of the area who have had to put up with severe disruption since development began. The fact that the development is seriously behind means that residents will be expected to put up with this disruption for even longer.
1) Call on Brent Council to ensure that in future “regeneration” provides housing at social rents, and not luxury dwellings for investment;
2) We note that many of the problems we pointed to at the planning stage, such as to the closeness of new to existing buildings (less than 8 metres at some points), have become even more obvious during the construction stage. We therefore call on Brent Council to adopt some basic minimum conditions in future, such as that adopted by Islington Council that residential blocks cannot be closer to each other than 18 metres.
3) Given the contempt with which Catalyst and Willmott Dixon have treated local residents, we call on Brent Council to refuse to use them in future developments and to publicise the reasons for this;
4) We call on Brent Council to properly monitor the behaviour of developers and ensure they treat residents with the respect they deserve, something the Council has failed to do to date.