Knights Walk: Progress Report

ASH are currently supporting the residents of Knight’s Walk in opposing Lambeth’s proposals to demolish their homes.

We are meeting on a regular basis with Lambeth and their architects (Mae) and proposing alternatives to their proposals, in the hope of influencing their designs.

In addition, on behalf of the residents we will be putting forward a representation to the Council in advance of their Cabinet meeting in July supporting a non-demolition option (probably mid June).

This report will contain the alternate proposals we have put forward as well as a set of arguments against the proposed demolition. Among other things, the argument will address:

  • Political and economic contexts and arguments.
  • Environmental impact.
  • Impact on community (residents and neighbours).
  • Architectural merit of Knights Walk and Cotton Gardens estate.

Lambeth’s ‘1000 homes’ Election Promise 2014

At the last local election the Labour party made an election promise to build 1000 additional council or social rent homes.

An assessment of (all?) Lambeth’s estates was conducted in 2012. ( We have still not obtained clarification from Lambeth as to how Knights walk was part of this because it is not an estate).

The residents understand that, because Knight’s walk is not in need to refurbishment to achieve LHS (the work which has in fact been done already) the only reason for Knight’s walk to be the subject of  regeneration is in order to build as many new homes as possible or satisfy their political agenda.

Questions:

On what research basis did they arrive at 1000 homes?

Did they specify, as part of their election promise, that homes would  need to be demolished in the process?

So they think that is this had been stated, that people would have been so keen to support that?

Did they ever have any funding for the proposed 1000 homes?

Was the funding of these new homes always reliant on the construction and selling-off of land and homes on the private market?

Knights Walk: Background to Demoltion

Knight’s Walk is a small part of the larger Cotton Gardens Estate in Kennington, and was designed by George Finch in the 1960s. Finch was an in-house architect at Lambeth whose other buildings include the Brixton recreation centre and Lambeth Towers.

Not having any issues with costly refurbishment or any fundamental structural problems to begin with, the purpose of the demolition of Knight’s Walk is solely to free up the land to build more homes.

Located in Zone 1, and a 5 minute walk from Elephant and Castle, and Kennington Tube, the land is valuable, and the council are proposing to take the opportunity to maximise the benefits of this asset by demolishing the homes and increasing the density 5 fold, selling off a percentage of the flats privatively to fund the construction of the rest of the homes.

ASH believes that the desire to capitalise on this land for economic reasons, and build new homes to satisfy an election promise, is not sufficient to bulldoze people homes and destroy their community. We believe that there are many alternative ideas which should be exhausted before homes and communities are destroyed, and we are currently working with the council to find alternative solutions, both on and around the site, as well as wider strategies across the borough.