A view of Wolverton, with Canary Wharf on the horizon (2011)
Defend your home – your moral right
You don’t have to move – sit tight
Be calm. Be still. No need to fight
To Defend our Homes with all our might.
(and to Defend Council Housing)
What moral/legal/political justification is there for the disruption of the Aylesbury, unless the FIRST, NUMBER ONE, TOP PRIORITY is that the living conditions of Aylesbury residents themselves improve?
And that the provision of GENUINELY AFFORDABLE SOCIAL HOUSING improves..
So if you are thinking of moving, before you move or sign anything make sure you’ve read the small print and are 100% happy with what’s offered
This scheme cannot proceed unless Southwark can obtain 100% ‘vacant possession’
So – hold your nerve
EVERY tenant/leaseholder matters
AND in the meantime it matters that our homes should be kept warm, safe, dry AND pest-free
Any incentive to move should be a positive one..
So – network with us and your neighbours to make sure the Council IS fulfilling their legal obligation to keep your home safe, warm, dry and pest-free… (Why, oh why have rubbish cupboards been boarded up on Wendover?)
e.g. tired of waiting on the phone? share the emailing/phoning/writing burden with a network of ‘repair phoning/emailing buddies’
There were about 2700 dwellings on the Aylesbury. 8500 people who appreciated having an affordable home close to central London, who needed SOMEWHERE to live.
WE KNOW AND APPRECIATE THE VALUE OF THIS LOCATION AND THE UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES IT AFFORDS
Still thousands live on the Aylesbury who do not want to see the eradication of social housing – of COUNCIL housing – in their neighbourhood. (And more ‘temporary tenants’ are being moved in…. ) London and Quadrant have built new homes in the South West Corner, and are currently building in the North West – ‘Harvard Gardens’. BUT NOT FOR US. Most are for private sale. These housing association homes for ‘social renting’ can only accomodate a small fraction of the Aylesbury tenants who are having to ‘HOME-SEARCH’. Most prospective tenants, however, cannot afford these homes: in L&Q’s development on the South-West corner, rent and service charges add up to an average of £40 PER WEEK more than comparable Aylesbury Council Homes. Rents and service charges on the next developments are likely to be as high, if not higher (read here). At the moment the L&Q rents (and the NHHT social housing) are set as ‘target rents. Pressure is on Housing Associations (Councils are better placed to resist) to charge even higher rents – so called ‘affordable rents’ (see our ‘Jargon busting’ page) The HCA are saying “it is expected that providers utilise the flexibility to charge rents of up to 80% of market rents to maximise financial capacity” We are worried that this is what will apply on the Wolverton site (Harvard Gardens). And – March 2015 – read here about NHHT, the kind of rents they are charging on their new builds in Southwark (with the agreement of the Council), and what rent levels on the Aylesbury are now shaping up to be… The Harvard Gardens legal agreement with the Council refers to the HCA guidelines, and makes no reference to the National Rent Regime, the regulatory framework that factors in average level of income. i.e. the new rents will be pinned to the average cost of housing in London, inflated by the billionaire property speculators, and NOT what people are really earning and what they can really afford.
Here are some examples of current rents from NHHT’s website: Re-lets
- Studio Flats/Bedsits £207.40 per week
- 1 Bed Homes £212.59 per week
- 2 Bed Homes £217.77 per week
- 3 bed+ Homes £222.96 per week
New build or newly acquired homes
- Studio Flats/Bedsits £238.51 per week
- 1 Bed Homes £243.70 per week
- 2 Bed Homes £250.95 per week
- 3 bed+ Homes £255.10 per week
That’s roughly double current Council rents on the Aylesbury…
AND ANYWAY –
The pace of “social rented” new build (if, and that’s a big if, it were genuinely affordable) is not keeping up with housing need.
In particular there is a current shortage of 3/4/5 bedroom homes in Southwark. Which will get worse as the many spacious Aylesbury maisonettes go.
We don’t believe that there is enough good quality housing to rehouse us.
Both tenants and leaseholders, if you are one of the hundreds of residents that the council is attempting to rehouse, we have an urgent message for you
Do not accept any reduction of your living standards and be wary of promises and hidden charges. (e.g. service charges, heating, water metering…)
If you are a Tenant – Network with us to find out what is happening. Network with us to establish and maintain a good standard of repairs and services (heating, hot water, working lifts, speedy leak repairs and pest control). Let us know what is happening in your block, and don’t be fobbed off with excuses blaming the pipework and the fabric of the building for prolonged delays. Expect nothing less than 100% consicientious and concern from contractors carrying out essential work and from Housing Officers supervising them. Record and report any instances where this is not happening, both to the Council, and to us. For example, we want to know more about the pest situation on 1-240 Wendover. We all know that loose rubbish is a magnet for vermin, even if it is, allegedly, collected every day (still leaving hours of rodent feasting time). So why on earth have the rubbish cupboards on these Wendover corridors been sealed off? Who sanctioned this? And what is your T&RA doing about this? Landlords have certain legal obligations to their tenants, and when Southwark fail to provide services we pay for, we are entitled to claim compensation. There is a multi-million pound budget assigned for repairs and ‘planned preventative maintenance’.
If you are a Leaseholder – We are advising Leasholders to research the Heygate and Wolverton experience of challenging Compulsory Purchase Orders and to network with each other (via Aylesbury Leaseholders Action Group). Bear in mind that the current, Southwark and Creation endorsed “Aylesbury Leaseholders” is dominated by non-resident landlords and those able and willing to move out of London. It is not properly independent, as it claims.
Together we are strong, and can hold Southwark accountable.
We are interested to network with both tenants and leaseholders from the Aylesbury – both have many interests in common.
Contact us here.
(Albany Place Hitard Court, Red Lion Row, London SE17) – the stuff of parody (sneak a peak at Real Estate by Jonathan Weston)