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YOUR VOICE: ‘Deep concerns’ over regeneration proposals

James Giles

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Kingston Green Party have deep concerns about plans to regenerate the Cambridge Road Estate by creating a London ‘housing zone’. The plan has all the indications of the estate being razed to the ground, a loss of truly affordable rented homes and the existing community dispersed and forced to live elsewhere.
The scandalous track record of Kingston Council – by both current and previous administrations – of providing no new homes over the past decade needs to be reversed. But, the solution to tackling this cannot be to follow the failed template of many other London councils.
Darren Johnson, Green Party London Assembly and chair of the GLA Housing Committee has exposed that of all the completed regeneration schemes in London in recent years only 20% of the original tenants have returned to the new developments. This begs the question just who are these new schemes really for – those needing secure homes on social/council rents or new opportunities for investors and developers to make yet more money from the already inflated housing market.
Andree Frieze, Green Party candidate for South West London Assembly, says: “We all agree that Kingston needs many more truly affordable homes, but demolition is not always the answer. The Council must be open to other ideas and make better use of architects to think beyond the ‘knock-it-all-down-and-rebuild scenario’. Any plans for the Cambridge Road Estate must have the overwhelming and transparent support of those already living there.”
Kingston Green Party believes that any regeneration plans should include:
– Plans developed with the democratic involvement of existing residents;
– Right of Return for all council tenants on existing tenancy terms and rent;
– No loss in the number of existing social rented homes;
– At least 50% of new homes above replaced stock to be for social/council rent;
– 50% of sale properties to be for shared ownership;
– No bulks sales: one buyer, one home;
– Kingston Council to remain the freeholder – i.e. no sell off to developers;
– Right of first refusal of a new home for the private tenants living in the homes already sold under the right to buy;
– A fair deal for occupying leaseholders;
– Full transparency on finances and viability reports;
– Sustainable build, with future-proofing features to reduce carbon emissions.
KINGSTON GREEN PARTY

James Giles is the Editor of the Kingston Enquirer, covering local news and events in Kingston, New Malden, Surbiton, Tolworth and Chessington.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Muttley

    18th April 2016 at 10:01 pm

    Good call, consultation so far has been minimal and it is reported that residents who expressed doubts about regeneration were not invited to join the steering group for consultation. The Housing Consultative Committee is being abolished, so any real say by residents has been weakened. Now a Freedom of Information request has shown that the Council’s figures don’t seem stack up, especially where the residents are concerned. This is looking more and more like a money making wheeze, the only problem is shifting the residents out before they realise what’s happening. And this is just the first estate the Council have their eyes on. It is not looking good.

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Stop cuts to schools and special needs children

James Giles

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The Council last night (7th February) passed the ‘SEND Transformation Plan’, despite local residents making clear that they had not been properly consulted.

The plans, which include raiding a potential £5 million from the budgets of mainstream schools, were put out to consultation over the Christmas Holidays, which resulted in a response rate of less than 2% of those with special needs children.

SEND Family Voices, a group who until recently worked with the Council on special needs matters, have described the plans as ‘fantasy’, saying: “The risk of legal challenge is now high; the risk of Tribunal rates going through the roof is also now extremely high. The Plan is unachievable & the savings suggested are completely fabricated.”

If 100 residents sign the ‘call in’ below, the decision is sent to Scrutiny Panel for an investigation.

Please sign to ensure that our schools and special needs children get the education they deserve. We demand better for SEND children.

CALL IN: SEND TRANSFORMATION

We, the undersigned, call in all recommendations from the 'SEND Transformation Plan' from the Childrens and Adults Care and Education Committee for review at Scrutiny Panel for the following reasons:

- Councillors were misled by officers who presented the item, who claimed the consultation was sent to all SEND parents, school governors, publicised on the website and via social media, which is gross distortion of the facts.
- The consultation was not published on Kingston Council's consultation portal until 3rd January, leaving less than three weeks for the public to reply through this forum.
- The 'easy read' consultation was not published until after most schools had broken up.
- The consultation did not meet government guidelines on good consultation.
- Out of Borough schools which have Kingston SEND pupils attending were not consulted on the proposals
- SEND partners and parents were not consulted before the plan was published
- The consultation only had 96 responses. There are 4,000+ CYP with SEND in Kingston - at best, the response rate was 2% and in reality, lower, which suggests there was a major flaw with the way in which consultation was carried out, leaving the Council open to legal challenge.
- The committee wilfully held the authority's constitution in contempt by agreeing to the sending the Written Statement of Action to Ofsted a mere two working days after the committee, despite the constitution being incredibly clear that a decision cannot be fully implemented until expiration of a call-in period.
- The risk of legal challenge is now high; the risk of Tribunal rates going through the roof is also now extremely high.
- The Plan is unachievable & the savings suggested are completely fabricated.

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260 signatures

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