Members of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities committee visited two south London estate this week to investigate levels of disrepair in Central Hill and Regina Road estates.
The ‘regeneration’ and potential demolition of the Lambeth estate was first earmarked in 2014s cabinet paper. 476 homes became at risk of demolition. Groups like Estate Watch have been chronicling this potential demolition. The estate is currently occupied by some remaining leaseholders and tenants and people who have been moved into the estate by a local authorities who are using it as temporary accommodation.
The pattern of managed decline in estates earmarked for regeneration is a familiar story across the capital. Properties are left to rot and some of our most vulnerable neighbours are placed into these building as temporary accommodation. While some properties have serious leaks, burst pipes, collapsing structures other properties have been tenants homes for decades and tenants continue to try and look after their homes where ever possible!
Central Hill estate tweeted recently that a structure had collapsed in a temporary accommodation tenants home on the estate.
A letter penned by the Tenant and Resident Association following this incident states:
This is just an indication of the tate of her kitchen, and, I fear, many others. Please could the kitchens and bathrooms of secure and temporary tenants be brought up to standard, both as soon as possible and whilst the tenant still lives at the address, not once it has become disoccupied?
Prior to attending Central Hill estate the MPs visited Regina Road estate in Croydon which made headlines last year as tenants disrepairs were being so neglected that tenants had to turn to the media. ITV news covered the unbelievable conditions in March 2021. ‘The worst I’ve ever seen’: The appalling and ‘unliveable’ council housing conditions some have endured during lockdown | ITV News
Since broadcasting residents have set up a Regina Road Residents Support group. Neighbours support each other and some tenants have been moved off of the estate. MPs visiting the estate on the 11th of May were taken to multiple homes that still one year on had chronic disrepair and were not being dealt with.
Members of the Regina Road Support Group wrote about the visit in a recent Inside Croydon article: Select committee MPs promise swift action at Regina Road | Inside Croydon
We submitted written evidence to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities committee back in December 2021 and been negotiating follow up investigations ever since. Having made clear that we needed to be actively part of the inquiry into social housing South West London Law Centres was asked to arrange two estate visits for MPs. Both Central Hill estate and Regina Road estate campaign groups are led by tenants of the estates which is why they are so powerful.