The Secretary of State has rejected a London council’s bid to move residents out of an estate earmarked for demolition because it would breach their human rights.
Southwark Council planned to use a Compulsory Purchase Order to move out residents and demolish part of the 2,704 home Aylesbury Estate. The council plans to build 3,500 new homes, 50% of which would be affordable through a mixture of social rent, shared ownership and shared equity.
In his decision letter on the first phase of the demolition the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, said many of the remaining leaseholders on the estate would be unable to afford the options of either a shared ownership or shared equity property on the estate and the plans would “probably force many of those concerned to move from this area”. This would particularly affect elderly residents and those with children, he concluded.
He added the council had not taken “reasonable steps” to acquire the land through agreement with the residents and the use of CPO would have “considerable economic and social dis-benefits” for leaseholders who still live on the estate.
The Aylesbury Leaseholder Group, who lodged an objection to the council’s plans, said the scheme would fail to deliver enough social rented housing and the estate could be regenerated without being demolished. Under the scheme around 50% of the residents would be moved away from the estate. There are eight leaseholders who are still living on the part of the estate affected by the first phase of the plan.
A compulsory purchase order should only be used where there is a “compelling case in the public interest to justify sufficiently the interference with the human rights of those with an interest in the land affected”, Mr Javid’s decision letter stated. He said the council had not met this test.
Although the Secretary of State concluded the scheme is viable, fits with the council’s Local Plan, and the plans for a mixed tenure development would help the area he agreed with the inspector who first assessed the council’s plan who said a number of the new homes would not meet the council’s daylight and sunlight standards.
Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “This is an extremely disappointing decision by the Secretary of State, and the council will be reviewing the detail of the report and the decision before commenting further.”
He added the council remains committed to the regeneration plans.
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