The only OFFICIAL website for the SAVE CRESSINGHAM GARDENS Residents campaign has now moved to www.savecressinghamgardens.co.uk


The only OFFICIAL website for the SAVE CRESSINGHAM GARDENS Residents campaign has now moved to www.savecressinghamgardens.co.uk

We want the estate repaired, not ”Regenerated” / privatized

  Residents that wish to be kept updated on the latest       developments and news regarding the campaign, should (preferably) email us providing their name, address, & any other contact details.

       Email: cgestate@hotmail.co.uk    

        (or Phone: 07828193043   leave your answering machine message, and we will contact you).                             

     All press / media requests regarding the SAVE CRESSINGHAM GARDENS Residents        campaign, should be addressed to the above email and phone number.

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Lambeth Council has notified leaseholders and freeholders of two meetings at the Rotunda


17th Oct @ 6.30pm - Meeting called by the council for Leaseholders & Freeholders

24th Oct @ 6.30pm - Meeting called by the council for Tenants 

At these meeting the issue of redevelopment / privatization of the estate will be discussed. 

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This site has been updated with  info and videos detailing REAL LIFE STORIES of tenants + leaseholders undergoing "regeneration" (5 videos with a total length of 8 minutes in total, but very interesting to watch and figure out what fate await us if we don't resist Lambeth council's plans to demolish Cressingham Gardens).                                                                                                                                          Please make sure that you actively contribute (to our efforts of saving the estate) by contacting your neighbours and talking to them, or even inviting your neighbours and showing them the web site and the videos. Unlike Lambeth we don't pay people to run this campaign, we are all volunteers that put hours and hours of our life into this (researching, writing, creating the web site and other web pages, talking to the residents and the press, flyering the estate, turning up at meetings etc., etc., etc). But we can't do this without your help, as there are 296 properties in this estate and not enough time to deal with each individual on a one to one basis. Check the web site carefully, then talk to neighbours, get in touch with us and discuss (face to face) in what other way you can help us save your own house and the estate. So please, email us and let us know what you can do, how you can help.    


                      


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Cressingham Gardens Residents press release  24-9-2012

   Tenants and leaseholders on Cressingham Gardens Estate are fighting Lambeth council's plan to sell of the estate and all its land to private property developers for demolition and redevelopment.  Residents believe that the real motive for selling off the estate is its prime location overlooking Brockwell park, with stunning views of the city and excellent public transport links, the sale of which would be a major source of revenue for both the council and the property developers.  Lambeth Council has already sold off a number of its estates (most recently Myatts Fields and Clapham Park estate) to property developers, under the guise of "regeneration". New build properties at Clapham Park Estate are typically being sold to foreign investors seeking to profit from London's spiralling property prices, whilst locals are priced out of London for good. If the council are allowed to get away with it, this trend is set to continue, as it has emerged that the next estates in line are the huge Tulse Hill estate along with Cressingham Gardens estate.

   

After a short rushed and insufficient six month consultation period with residents, (“conveniently” started during the summer holidays), the council’s final decision will be made in March.  Lambeth state that at least £3.4 million is currently allocated to our estate of 296 properties to do the much needed repairs and bring properties on the estate up to the government’s “Decent Homes standard”. Lambeth council is trying to convince residents that it is too expensive to do the repairs and are using this as an excuse to demolish Cressingham Gardens estate and sell it off for profit to developers. However, smaller estates in Lambeth have been allocated more money than Cressingham Gardens. (For example Dumbarton Court on Brixton Hill, has 202 properties but was awarded over 4 million). Residents strongly suspect that the council has downgraded our award on purpose whilst our repair bill has been overinflated, in order to justify the selling of the estate. Given the estates’ prime location overlooking Brockwell park, with great panoramic views of the city the Council stand to make far more money from the sale of our estate’s land, than they would by selling off estates in less well appointed areas of Lambeth. They are so determined to sell, that they would settle for selling off parts of the estate in order to supposedly raise funds to repair the remaining parts of the estate. However there is no guarantee whatsoever that funds raised in this way will ever come back to the estate. For example in St. Mathews estate in Brixton, residents were persuaded to allow the estate’s garages to be sold off on the condition that the money from the sale, would go towards funding their repairs. That never happened. After 5 years of fighting for their fair share of the money, they only got their front doors replaced!

 

   On the 12th of September, at a packed resident’s meeting on the estate with the council’s regeneration team, residents demanded that the council produce full financial information and structural surveys of the estate, before going any further with the regeneration process. 

The vast majority of residents demanded that the extra money that we are entitled to from central government, is fairly allocated to us, thereby covering the costs of repairs and major works and further insisted that they do not want the estate sold off to private developers. Such a move would see the local community broken up for good, with tenants being forced out of their homes with no guarantee of ever returning and leaseholders being priced out of the area for good. The whole area will become a building site for many years to come, with the inevitable loss of the Brockwell Park views which will be destroyed by the construction of much higher density, taller buildings of expensive, mostly private housing on a packed “regenerated” estate.                                                                                           

                                                                          End of 

press release

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              Two quick points:

1)      We now have less than 5 ½  months to save the estate. By that time the council would have come up with a decision as to what will happen to our estate. The time to be active is definitely NOW!

2)      Be aware that the council doesn't even have to sell the land. They can very easily lease it to developers for 30 or 35 years. New buildings are only get insured for up to 35 years these days, so both developers and the council are happy to knock and build again and again, thus making money again and again. So, keep your ears open when the council says “oh, we will not necessarily sell the land”! 

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"Regeneration" = privatization 

If part or all of the estate is demolished by private developers, they will build more, higher, and grab our green spaces, as profit is their only motivation. We definitely don’t want “options” that would mean changes to our secure tenancies, higher rents and increased service charges for leaseholders, all of which will happen if housing associations and private developers take over the estate from Lambeth. As a result of this “regeneration”/ redevelopment, many residents will be forced to move away with no guarantee of ever returning. Leaseholders will be offered too little compensation for their existing properties and will be unable to buy new properties of the same size in a “regenerated” / rebuilt and privatized estate. The new build housing will be for sale on the open market with only the smaller, less desirable properties available to a tiny percentage of tenants & leaseholders.

Yes, our estate is in need of major repairs, but don’t let anyone fool you:

1. Lambeth Council is legally obliged to do our repairs as soon as possible and bring our homes up to the government’s “Decent Homes standard”.

2. Lambeth state that at least £3.4 million is currently allocated to our estate for this purpose, even though smaller estates in Lambeth have been allocated more than us! By demanding the extra money that we are entitled to, AND if Lambeth and the residents of the estate prioritize carefully (e.g. essential repairs get priority), we will….

3. …cover costs of all repairs and major works. Therefore, there will be no need to sell the estate off to developers.




When asked to vote on the future of our Estate: 


Vote YES to repairs


Vote NO to partial or total regeneration/privatisation


 



Cressingham Gardens needs YOU! 

We are sitting on prime real estate. This in plain English means that the land is very, very valuable. Most of us don’t realize how lucky we are to live here. Many young professionals and foreign investors would pay a lot of money to live in a property that is in the 2nd zone of London, with good transport links, great panoramic views of the city and overlooking Brockwell park, with good air quality outdoor sport & swimming facilities that are available in the park. The buildings are mainly low rise; currently it is not a densely populated area, and because of this, the crime is low for an inner city area. However, sitting on a property developers’ goldmine is tricky, because the only reason developers will get involved with the estate, is to gain maximum profits by building high rise buildings, in every available space. This, along with the Council's need to sell any land they have (at discount prices) in order to clear their debts, makes the situation even more dangerous for the estates current residents. Developers and the council know the true financial value of this land, whilst many local tenants and leaseholders do not. Many tenants are focused more on the repairs that are needed to their properties, because those affect them the most on a day to day basis. Therefore they are vulnerable to “too good to be true” offers to completely “regenerate” the estate, rather than repair it. In order to tempt residents of council estates to leave their homes, tenants are promised a move on a “like for like” basis. Properties on the new build estate might sound tempting. In reality it never really works out like that. In many regeneration projects taking place around the country, tenants and leaseholders typically get offered smaller properties. These are usually in less favourable locations in the new complex, with ever rising service charges and increasingly expensive rents payable to a new private landlord (housing associations).



Tenants living in properties that have been in disrepair for some time may be tempted to think that a Registered Social Landlord would do a better job than Lambeth. However, for all Lambeth's problems, the council is far more accountable than any other landlord would be, charges the cheapest rents possible, and offers the most secure tenancies. Cressingham Gardens Estate is now in need of refurbishment if its buildings are to come up to the standard required by law, known as the “Decent Homes Standard”. There is money available from both Europe and central government to help cover the cost of these major works. However, because Lambeth is in debt, they are always looking for ways to create revenue, and one of the easiest and most financially rewarding ways to do this, is by identifying the prime real estate that Lambeth owns, and sell it off at a discount to private developers. Because of Cressingham Gardens prime location and plentiful green spaces, we are being targeted for "regeneration" because of the massive profits that can be made for both the Council and the property developer. Whilst we get "regenerated' and come under the ownership of a private sector landlord, other estates will get our share of the funding that should rightfully be ours, and they get to remain secure Lambeth tenants. Therefore should this “option” of “regeneration” with private capital be undertaken on Cressingham Gardens Estate, we will lose out both ways

1. Our government money goes to another estate

2. We get overtaken by a Registered Social Landlord and lose our Lambeth secure tenancies in favour of their way more expensive “flexible short term tenancies”. That means that you tenancy is under review at least every three years, which unless you are in a category classed as “vulnerable” e.g elderly or registered disabled, will mean that your tenancy is not renewed and you will be asked to vacate the property.

However Housing Associations and Registered Social Landlords will charge 80% of the current market rent. Given that the average current rent for London properties is £1200 on average, a one bedroom flat would cost YOU £960…and it will definitely keep rising here in London…thank you very much! Do you really want to lose your secure Lambeth tenancy now?

No! Because Housing benefit is due to be capped shortly, which will mean that your increased housing association rent, will not be completely covered by Housing benefit. You will be forced to move to a smaller property, IF one is even available for you, or be forced out of London altogether in search of worse quality properties in cheaper areas.

Any Registered Social Landlord can evict you under option “8” if you are in rent arrears of more than 8 weeks, even if that is due to a housing benefit error or delay in payment. The Registered Social Landlord does not need to take you to court to do this, they can simply evict you after the 8 week period is over! This already happened to many ex council tenants in the North of England when they were evicted from their Housing Association homes. Unless into the “vulnerable” category, the local council has no duty to re-house you should you be made homeless.

Leaseholders
“I’m a leaseholder, so they can’t touch me” ….wrong!!! Ultimately if the council want to move you out, they can, by using a compulsory purchase order. How do you think they got rid of leaseholders on other “regenerated” estates?
The developer may tempt you with a new house on the Cressingham Gardens Estate, but the reality is that the new builds will be valued at around two thirds MORE than your old property. This means that you will ultimately have to:
1) Move to a smaller property in order to remain on the Estate or return to the Estate after a possible “regeneration”
2) In order to remain on the Estate in a house of the same size as yours, you will be forced to take out a shared ownership mortgage in order to afford the new, more costly house. But for this arrangement to be possible, the old property needs to be worth at least 70% of the value of the new property. However, unfortunately a new property will cost several times more than the old one, making this a totally unworkable scenario for the vast majority of leaseholders.
3) Move to another geographical area altogether - in order to afford the same size property.
4) In the meantime:
Large regeneration schemes typically suffer major setbacks due to financial pressures & fluctuations of the open market. Government or the private financiers can pull out at any point, causing ongoing building work during the project to be massively delayed, often by many years (anything from 4 to 10 years).
Meanwhile, your property devalues with each passing year (no ongoing maintenance will be happening & the existing properties will suffer from the impact of heavy building work taking place nearby).
You will be living in limbo and you will be unable to make any long or short terms plans for the future. You or your tenant (in case you are renting your property out) will be living on a building site, along with all the noise, dirt, and daily disruption that this causes. If you are renting your property out, how much could you realistically charge for the “privilege” of living in such a sub standard environment?
… Squatters will be turning up, to take advantage of the many decanted & boarded up properties (they, themselves create lots of inconvenience & noise), and could possibly become your immediate neighbours. As the regeneration scheme progresses, the Estate will turn into a ghost town. Once the majority of residents have been decanted, you could be left socially isolated and living on a building site, possibly for many years to come, surrounded by hoardings and razor wire (necessary to protect the developers valuable building materials).



If the council go for the option of involving private developers, our housing will be transferred to a housing association. Overnight you find yourself financially involved with a Registered Social Landlord that answers to bankers and shareholders (instead of the more accountable Local Council), and can be subject to takeovers & mergers at any time. Be aware, that when private companies merge, they can very easily dictate to you new, less favourable terms and conditions, such as increasing your rent, service charges, & ongoing maintenance charges etc., without you being able to do anything about it. Although legislation supposedly exists to protect you from such terms & conditions changes, the reality is that the Registered Social Landlord is rarely successfully prosecuted. Plus if you get transferred, in most cases the council has zero involvement once the deal is done (which is very convenient for the council; they make lots of money from selling off public owned land and they don’t have responsibilities towards their ex residents). Even when the council has a care of duty towards its recently transferred leaseholders and tenants, they are reluctant to go through the expense of prosecution and rarely do so.
You are entering into a relationship where you can be “milked” like a “cash cow”, over many years, fighting constant battles with the Registered Social Landlords’ escalating service charges and spiralling ongoing maintenance costs

Not forgetting:
a) with every single need to move in or out of temporary accommodation, you will have to spend serious amounts of time, effort & money, in order to complete the relocation process. You will also have to deal with the upheaval of losing your local set up, connections, community & friends, plus you will have to adapt to your new surroundings (in both your temporary accommodation and -should you return- the new high density Cressingham Gardens Estate). Although the council offers limited financial compensation for moving costs, it can never make up for the scale of inconvenience caused and the associated implications and stresses involved.
b) although temporary accommodation is supposed to be within 5 miles radius of the Estate, there are legal clauses that allow the council to ship you out much further than that if necessary and if costs dictate. Bed & breakfast accommodation in Hastings would be much cheaper than housing anyone locally.
c) People with cars / vehicles should know that free or very cheap parking & garages on Estates will be a thing of the past. Garages on new builds can now typically cost up to £30,000 that is on top of the inflated house prices in the new properties.

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REAL LIFE STORIES of tenants + leaseholders undergoing "regeneration" Vol.1

Description of the video:

0.00 - 0.20 Like for like?

0.20 - 0.33 Gentrification + breaking up communities

0.34 - 0.51 long delays + broken promises

0.52 - 0.56 squatters move in

0.56 - 1.11 hundreds left in limbo

1.11 - 2.04 broken promises + tenants scrambling for housing "it's like a lottery"

2.05 - 2.48 The like for like myth "rabbit hutches"

2.49 - 3.10 No choice + undemocratic 

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REAL LIFE STORIES of tenants + leaseholders undergoing "regeneration" Vol.2

Description of the video:

0.00 -- 0.10 False Promises

0.11 -- 0.18 Changing time scales

0.19 -- 0.31 false promises

0.32 -- 0.57 deliberate lack of maintenance

0.58 -- 1.02 repairs please, no regeneration

1.03 -- 1.38 living in limbo + long delays

1.39 -- 2.31 No escape from living in limbo

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REAL LIFE STORIES of tenants + leaseholders undergoing "regeneration" Vol.3

Description of the video:

0.00 - 0.30 Low valuations for leaseholders + living in limbo

0.31 - 0.45 Even long term tenants get booted out
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REAL LIFE STORIES of tenants + leaseholders undergoing "regeneration" Vol.4


Description of the video:

0.00 -- 1.01 Trapped in limbo, endless delays
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REAL LIFE STORIES of tenants + leaseholders undergoing "regeneration" Vol.5

Description of the video:

0.00 -- 0.15 Life on a delayed regenerated scheme
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FURTHER READING / REAL LIFE STORIES of tenants + leaseholders undergoing "regeneration":

Check out the real life stories & quotes from people from other estates affected by "regeneration". You will find below, quotes regarding the two estates
(
Colville Estate + 
Woodberry Down 
Estate
)
 
that Lambeth wish to arrange visits for us to see, as examples of how great regeneration schemes are! We could have picked many examples from all around the country, but preferred to stick to the estates that Lambeth are using as examples of good  regeneration schemes !! Judge for yourselves if they are good or NOT:


Regarding: Increased density of private housing in regenerated estates.

“Hackney Council wants to knock down Felton House in Branch Place, part of the Colville Estate, where there are plans to pay for upgrades to social housing through the sale of expensive accommodation sold privately.

The estate currently contains just over 400 homes and the council wants to replace these with a larger, high rise housing complex made up of around 900 flats.”

In http://hackneycitizen.co.uk/2012/07/11/colville-estate-tenants-hoxton-regeneration-row/  

+

Regarding: false promises of moves on a "like for like" basis.
“Jean Welton, who has a ground floor flat in Fenton House and a garden she has lovingly tended to during her 35 years there, said she wanted to remain a council tenant but had been offered a “pokey” basement flat in a housing association complex. Leaseholders described the amount of money they had been offered by the council as “insulting”.

In http://hackneycitizen.co.uk/2012/07/11/colville-estate-tenants-hoxton-regeneration-row/ 




Regarding: false promises of moves on a "like for like" basis 
Colville Estate residents being “bulldozed” in Hackney Council’s estate regeneration. 

Residents are upset at the way they are being treated in the council regeneration of the Colville estate

Residents like Jean Welton and Jennifer Hutchinson who have had gardens on the estate for over 30 years have requested a garden in the new build, but have been told this cannot be guaranteed. Cllr Kelly hopes to secure a better deal for them in the move.


 
Regarding: long delays & living in limbo
Tenants on the estate feel as if they are living in limbo, because although they were told before Christmas their block would be demolished in June, they still have no idea where they will live during the three years it is rebuilt.

Regarding: rotten deals & living in limbo (for leaseholders)
Meanwhile leaseholders still do not know what price they will get for their homes, and fear they may be priced out of the area. 

Inwww.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/colville_estate_residents_being_bulldozed_in_hackney_council_s_estate_regeneration_1_1241913   


Regarding: councils are eager to demolish council housing!
“The council decided that it was more economical to knock down the gigantic estate, home to near on 2,000 families living in large social housing blocks, rather than bring the homes up to the government’s Decent Homes standard”.


+
Regarding: delays & increased density of private housing in regenerated estates. 
“Now government funding has dried up, further construction of homes for social renting and shared ownership are to be generated by the sale of over 2,700 private flats by Berkeley Homes. All council blocks and the terraced houses on the west side, totalling 1,980 homes, are being knocked down over the next twenty years, making way for a total of 4,600 new properties”.

+
Regarding: getting ripped off & social cleansing / gentrification  
“The regeneration process was meant to create a mixture of locals and new people, but a lot of people won’t be able to afford it: most private flats are aimed at a different demographic. For example, car owners in the Riverside flats will have to buy a parking space in the garage for£30,000. Parking used to be free of charge. There is no way leaseholders currently living on the estate are going to be able to afford that, on top of the house price. I was here twelve years ago and people were being told that regeneration was taking place to benefit local residents, but now it’s really about how much the developer makes out of it.” 

In www.eastlondonlines.co.uk/2012/02/woodberry-down-bright-future-yet-visible-social-divide/   



Regarding: getting ripped off & fat profits for developers   
“In other words, an additional 2,700 homes will be built by Berkeley Homes over the next two decades in order to fund the programme, and ensure the developer, who noted annual profits of £96m in 2011, reach their target of 21 per cent profit as agreed in the deal with the council”

+

Regarding:  low valuations, rotten deals & living in limbo (for leaseholders)    
“And most of the new builds sold by Berkeley on the estate, are twice, three or four times the value of the old council flats. Leaseholders simply cannot afford to buy them. They can also opt for the option of shared equity in one of the new builds, but for this arrangement to work the old property needs to be worth at least 70 per cent of the value of the new property”

+
Regarding:  low valuations scams (for leaseholders)    
“Many Woodberry Down residents believe that Hackney Council has left their properties to rot in order to bring down their value, and thereby the cost of compensation”

+
Regarding:  low valuations scams (for leaseholders)   
“But a single mother I speak to is being offered £205,000 for her three bedroom house, and an elderly woman has had her three-bedroom flat valued at £190,000. A young father living two blocks down is being offered £160,000 for a four-bedroom flat”.

+
Regarding: social cleansing / gentrification  
“In fact, the typical buyer at Woodberry Down is a Hong Kong or Singapore-based investor , buying new-build properties with the aim of renting them out in the open market for a combination of income and eventual capital gain.”

+
Regarding: social cleansing / gentrification   
“Families and elderly men and women who have lived on the estate for decades, purchased their homes and played an active role in the community are simply told to pack up and go”.

+
Regarding:  social cleansing as a result of council divide & rule scams
In the “State sponsored gentrification”: “…Residents on phase II of the estate were only called to a meeting after the deadline of the Compulsary Purchase Order (CPO) issued on their homes has passed, and there had not been a meeting for months prior to the deadline. Moreover, Drivers Jonas Deloitte actively discourage leaseholders to discuss their valuations with each other, and will only speak to residents individually. A divide and rule strategy aims to divide council tenants and leaseholders, as well as leaseholders from other leaseholders”

+
Regarding:  advice on how to resist "regeneration"
“As a result of my brief involvement with a number of campaigns in north and east London I have learned that regeneration projects are going on all over inner London and that in order to successfully resist them tenants and residents must be incredibly organised right from the start, and resist any attempt by the local authority or developer to divide them”. 









Here is the lamentable feedback form that the Lambeth council handed out to residents.

Option 1, is the only one that is hard to figure out, whilst options 2 & 3 have a sufficient text description and are easy to comprehend. To figure out option 1 you had to carefully examine the fourth board that the council put up during their presentation and then somehow realize that this is the option that talks about repairs!

We feel that the council tried to confuse the residents. In fact we did see that many people had problems realizing what the first option was all about. We will try to make sure that the council contacts us before handing over forms like this in the future, so that we can check  if they are easy to comprehend and fill up.


Don’t forget that you can contact us using both email + phone:                       
Email: cgestate@hotmail.co.uk
Phone: 07828193043 (leave your answering machine message, and we will contact you)  

We strongly recommend that you check http://www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/ because this is not just a Cressingham Gardens issue, it is taking place nationally, people are already fighting successfully and there is lots of information tenants & leaseholders can get by visiting http://www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/    

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