Aylesbury; the Right to a Community
£13,774 of £23,000 goal
We need funds to ensure that an important victory for residents of council estates across the country is not lost. These are residents whose estates face the threat of regeneration, regenerations that will see their homes lost and demolished.
In September 2016 leaseholders fighting one such regeneration, of the Aylesbury estate, South London, won a landmark decision, when their local authority, Southwark Council, was refused the compulsory purchase order it needed to demolish their homes. However, that decision was quashed after Southwark took High Court action and the leaseholders now face a second gruelling public inquiry.
The original decision was given by Sajid Javid , Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government, after a seven day public inquiry. Mr Javid held that Southwark had, amongst other things, breached of the leaseholders' human rights and failed to fulfil its duty towards people from black and ethnic minority backgrounds. When Southwark mounted its legal challenge, he pledged to defend it ‘robustly’, but unfortunately he did not do so, preferring to quash his own decision and announcing a second public inquiry, due to begin in October.
The Aylesbury leaseholders and their supporters have raised over £9000 to date, spent supporting the Secretary of State decision and in defence of their own homes. A request to the Secretary of State to reimburse these costs and allow the leaseholders to employ the legal help it needs for the second public inquiry has been refused.
We are therefore now appealing for funds pay to for a barrister to represent the objectors at the second public inquiry and associated legal costs.
By making a contribution you would be helping the fight against the privatisation of council estates and the displacement and destruction of local communities.
The Aylesbury leaseholders' success in resisting Southwark's attempts to throw them out of their homes has given hope to many others , both leaseholders and tenants - not just on the Aylesbury but on estates everywhere, who face the threat of regeneration.
Since 2007 the 35% campaign has been exposing the false promises and double-dealing that underlies estate regeneration and we fully support the leaseholders in their battle to save their homes. We helped organise objectors at the first CPO public inquiry , made our own submissions and advocated on leaseholders' behalf.
We have been joined via the GoFundMe site by over 200 individuals, tenants and resident groups, trade union branches and campaign groups, who recognise that estate regeneration means cut-throat rates of compensation for leaseholders and the destruction of council housing.
A legal opinion says that this decision could herald a new 'right to a community' for council estate residents, a right that is sorely needed. Any contribution that you can make to this fund, small or large, will help both the Aylesbury leaseholders and be a step towards making the 'right to a community' a reality.
35% Campaign - www.35percent.org
Aylesbury Leaseholders Group
Guardian: 'Government blocks plan to force out London estate residents'
BBC: 'Aylesbury estate: Government blocks compulsory purchase order'
Architects Journal: 'Aylesbury estate CPO ruling - what went wrong?'
The Guardian: 'What the Aylesbury estate ruling means for the future of regeneration'
Reuters: 'Staying put in run-down London estate, residents resist demolition'
Ashurst: 'Power to the People? - the implications of the refusal to confirm the Aylesbury estate CPO'
Herbert Smith Freehills: 'A new "Right to a Community"? Decision by the Secretary of State not to confirm the CPO for the Aylesbury estate'
Hodge, Jones & Allen: 'CPO on Aylesbury estate in Southwark blocked by Government'
This is the final update of our appeal, which is now closing.
With your fantastic support we have managed to provide legal representation to Aylesbury leaseholders throughout the long CPO process, including a judicial review. All donations have been used to pay barrister’ fees. Our heartfelt thanks to Chris Jacobs and Landmark chambers.
The leaseholders have secured a significant victory – a change in Southwark’s rehousing policy that gives leaseholders on any estate facing regeneration in the borough a much better chance of being rehoused in the area and remaining in their community. It is a change leaseholders have long fought for and now achieved. Full details of the new policy can be found here - http://moderngov.southwark.gov.uk/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=50016624&Opt; http://ouraylesbury.org/press/
Many thanks once more to everyone who has supported this campaign.
I am writing to let you all know that the Aylesbury Leaseholders have reached a mediated agreement with Southwark on the Aylesbury CPO. The basis of the agreement is that Southwark has changed its rehousing policy and introduced an ‘equity loan’ scheme for leaseholders on regeneration estates.
This will allow a leaseholder to own 100% of a replacement property, subject to a charge which is only repayable on the sale of the property or the decease of the leaseholder or of their successor. Full details of the new policy can be found here - http://moderngov.southwark.gov.uk/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=50016624&Opt
This scheme meets most, if not all of the policy requirements that ALAG maintained at the public inquiry were necessary to mitigate the effects of gentrification and displacement of leaseholders in regeneration schemes.
As a result of the change of policy, ALAG & Southwark have settled the dispute between them on terms which are based on the new policy decision. The Inspector of the public inquiry has been informed of the settlement and ALAG has withdrawn its objection to the CPO.
This is a significant victory for the leaseholders and those who supported them and would not have been possible without your support. The new scheme offers the leaseholders a real opportunity to remain as homeowners in the area.
Speaking as the 35% Campaign, this has been the a hard fought inquiry and all credit must go to the leaseholders, their witnesses and their supporters. We have raised over £13k and we thank you all wholeheartedly. We will still of course be maintaining our opposition to the invidious impact of estate regenerations.
Finally, an apology that we have not been able to let you know more quickly about the outcome; we had to await conclusion of the formalities.
Regards and thanks
We have now completed the first part of the Inquiry, but are set to reconvene on 17 April, to hear the remainder of the leaseholders' witnesses and closing submissions.
So our fundraising campaign to ensure the Aylesbury leaseholders get the best possible chance of justice continues. We have raised over £13,400 online so far, thanks to your generosity, but please spread the word and if you can make any further donations, big or small, they will be gratefully received.
We would like to say a big thank-you to our witnesses. Anyone who has attended the Inquiry will know that appearing is not something to be done lightly; it requires days of preparation. It is a testament to the witnesses' commitment to the leaseholders's cause that they have undertaken the task.
We must also say thank you to our indefatigable barrister, Chris Jacobs, of Landmark Chambers, who is working tirelessly on the leaseholder's behalf.
Finally there is a public meeting in support of the leaseholders and all Aylesbury's residents tomorrow evening 6 Feb 7pm at the Draper's Hall SE1 - https://goo.gl/maps/pqtUWPbZryM2. Sian Berry Green Party GLA Assembly member is among the speakers. Be good to see you there!
Thanks for your continuing support!
We are entering the final full week of the CPO inquiry; it is scheduled to finish on 31 Jan.
Southwark Council's witnesses continue to give evidence and the leaseholders' and objectors' witnesses will follow in the middle/end of this week.
Thanks for your continuing support - our fundraising continues.