Cressingham Gardens campaign dealt fatal blow as Lambeth Council reject challenge to demolition decision

A severe blow was dealt to the campaign to Save Cressingham Gardens estate homes from demolition as senior councillors from Lambeth Council rejected a call for the decision to be reconsidered.

The ongoing tussle between estate residents, who wanted their heritage-listed architect homes refurbished rather than demolished, and the council who said repairs would top £15million, seems to have been concluded.

The houses, that run alongside Brixton’s Brockwell Park, consist of 306 homes but campaign group Save Cressingham Gardens said that only 10% of the proposed replacement 464 homes would be available for council tenants.

A Save Cressingham Gardens statement read:Lambeth Scrutiny Committee considered whether to send the Cabinet decision to demolish Cressingham Gardens back for reconsideration.

“Green councillor Scott Ainslie led the call-in on the basis that the test of opinion was so poor, that the report on the scheme’s viability was flawed, and that insufficient consideration has been given to the heritage implications of redevelopment.

“Many of the councillors were critical of the decision-making and even one Labour councillor Jackie Dyer voted to reject the Cabinet decision.

“A second councillor, a Tory in Clapham Common, also voted to return the decision. However the spread of voting meant the decision to redevelop still stands.”

In his official request for the decision to be ‘called in’ by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Ainslie said:  “I believe the information in the report is inaccurate which therefore brings into question the validity of the cabinet’s decision.”

The council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee met last week and decided that the council’s cabinet should not be asked to review its decision.

Councillor Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “I am pleased that the decision to go ahead with the rebuilding of Cressingham Gardens has been endorsed, and am grateful for the committee’s further recommendations.

“We face a major housing crisis in Lambeth, but in Cressingham Gardens we have the opportunity to build a new, modern estate – for existing residents and for people who at the moment do not have a secure home by increasing the number of homes for council rent for local families. I hope we can now get on with this vital project.”

The council say the redevelopment will provide a minimum of 464 new homes – a net gain of 158 extra homes towards their commitment to build 1,000 extra homes at council rent levels.

There are around 21,000 people waiting for social housing in Lambeth.

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