Knight’s Walk: Resident Consultation

Following up the Knight’s Walk consultation yesterday:

Effectively the same information was on the wall as at the last meeting. The only difference was Matthew Bennett (Lambeth Cabinet Member for Housing) was there, and more neighbourhood groups putting forward their objections.

A few things noted:

  • Matthew Bennett definitively said there would be no ballot for residents.
  • If the tenants wanted to remain council tenants, they would have to move off the estate; if they wanted to remain on the estates, they would be tenants of the SPV (whatever entity that ends up being – its not clear yet).
  • MB came out with a wonderful definition of regeneration: ‘From my perspective, in Lambeth when I talk about estate regeneration it’s building to a high density in order to have more homes for council rent to address the housing crisis.’
  • The cabinet decision date for Knights Walk is moved to October, so any representation made to the cabinet will be submitted in September.
  • Lambeth will continue to ‘consult’ over the summer, and will be looking to procure a master plan team over that time, so they can be ready to go once they make the decision in October.
  • There will be an observation made of the process at July Cabinet.
  • Some of the neighbouring residents said there should be an Option 4 – ‘do nothing’. Matthew said this wasn’t going to happen – they are definitely going to do something (whether the residents like it or not). ‘I am not trying to suggest that the opponents to the construction of the new social homes are mean spirited or cold hearted but . . .’
  • Currently Option 1 is our infill option.  It is looking increasing unlikely to get through as it is as they/ we can’t find anywhere to move the games court to, and the conservation officer/planner would be very reluctant to build on the green areas. On this point, however, they could consider this if it the green area was replaced with better green space, and if it was in the best interests of regeneration, so this could be a possibility. Doug from Mae, when I asked him about this after, did say he thought a building on Kennington Lane here could also go higher than they have currently proposed, so we could grab a few extra flats along here.
  • The Hurley clinic – not yet been approached.
  • Density – people (residents and neighbours) are struggling to understand the density calculations, so it might be interesting to take the whole area of Cotton Gardens Estate, and bring the towers down to the ground, and see how the density of the whole estate would look like if it was all townhouses/ on a street layout. With the towers it is (I believe) 275 homes in 2.4 hectares = 114 homes/ hectare. Looking at the housing density study this falls well within the recommended amount for our area (which is very wide), but that still doesn’t really tell us what that actually means.
  • Neighbouring residents put forward strong arguments as to why they don’t want any changes to knights walk but this was slightly rebutted by Knight’s Walk residents who said they were happy to have some increased density, just not via demolition.
  • It is clear that the partial demolition (option 2) retains 5 out of 6 of the leaseholder’s homes (I believe) and (I believe) all the homes of the people in the room, who were  – I believe – all freeholders. This does seem to suggest that this option could be an offer to the freeholders in order to divide the residents between those whose homes are safe, and those whose homes are not.
  • Interesting question about criteria for measurements – all the measurements discussed are to do with numbers, and density and quantity, nothing about quality is discussed.
  • Apparently the decision will be scrutinised by the Overview and Scrutiny committee run by Ed Davie.

So – the next public consultation will be next week – Monday 2-5.30, Tuesday evening meeting  6.30-9, weds 2-6, Thursday 2-8 (in Cotton gardens).

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