Brixton families face eviction this month


Fifty families will be evicted from a Brixton estate so their homes can be demolished.


By Lizzie Dearden

Fifty families will be evicted from a Brixton estate later this month so their homes can be demolished.

The evictions are part of The Guinness Partnership’s development of the Loughborough Park Estate in central Brixton, which will be almost completely demolished and rebuilt.

They will take place around November 20 and demolition work is scheduled for early 2012.

The Guinness Partnership says it has been working with Lambeth Council to re-house evicted tenants, who were offered approximately £5,000 in compensation.

But residents say they are worried that many of the tenants, who were on shorthold lets, will be left homeless by the move.

Alan Piper, Secretary of The Brixton Society, said: “The tenants seem to be a long way down the list of priorites.”

Kate Needham, Guinness Partnership Director of Communication, said residents were given due notice of the evictions and were offered the houses on a temporary basis until redevelopment began.

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She said: “Lambeth has a statutory legal responsibility to help any “priority need” households and they will also be providing extra assistance to the others.”

The planning application for the redevelopment scheme was first submitted to Lambeth Council ten years ago.

Plans were refused several times by the council over concerns about lowering the provision of affordable housing, the destruction of green spaces and inappropriate design.

Ms Needham called the delay “frustrating”.

Residents’ associations, community and housing groups across Brixton were included in the consultation process but many claimed that their, mostly negative, feedback was ignored.

The Brixton Society, a local amenity group, wrote a letter objecting to the approved plan, which was submitted in late 2010.

The letter said that tenants had been pressured by the trust and discouraged from organising opposition.

The letter concluded: “The present proposals are misguided, detrimental to existing residents and damaging to the wider neighbourhood.”

Mr Piper said buildings on the estate are structurally sound and that he can see no reason for such drastic redevelopment.

He said: “It seems to be the trust’s desire, not the residents’.”

The redeveloped site will eventually include 525 new dwellings within six blocks of up to nine storeys in height.

The iconic art deco community centre will be replaced and new pedestrian routes, play areas and renewable energy sources.

Some homes will be for private sale while 200 ‘affordable homes’ will be offered to Lambeth Council.

The estate is part of the Coldharbour ward, which has the highest crime rate in the Brixton area.

The estate, dating from the 1930s, and surrounding area suffers from violent crime, anti-social behaviour and robbery.

The Coldharbour Safer Neighbourhoods Team, which covers the estate, has priorities including drug use and dealing, motor vehicle crime and anti-social behaviour.

Ms Needham said the changes will benefit to the Lambeth community.

“The new development will make a significant contribution to the future of Brixton,” she said.

All secure and assured tenants will be re-housed on the newly-developed estate.

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