At Mayor’s Question Time this week, the Mayor gave me a firm promise not to sign off any new funding for estate demolition while his new policy to require a ballot of residents was out for consultation. But he was concealing the fact he has recently rushed through funding for dozens of controversial schemes, allowing councils and housing associations to dodge his new policy.
The new policy to require ballots was announced on 2 February, with a consultation on the details (such as the size of schemes, who can vote, whether independent organisations should carry them out etc) open until 3 April.
I asked him at MQT this week not to sign off any schemes meanwhile, and he was clear he would not do this, saying: “I will be signing no new funding contracts until the consultation has ended and we’ve published the final guide.”
This seemed quite good. Along with campaigners from many estates across London, and with the support of the Assembly, I’ve been working to change the Mayor’s policy on giving residents a say since his truly appalling draft ‘Good Practice Guide’ to estate regeneration was published in December 2016. A consultation on that draft closed nearly a year ago in March 2017, and the results were that 95 per cent of responders asked for ballots for residents facing demolition.
I have now found out that, all this time, the Mayor has been quietly signing off funding for some of the most controversial estate schemes in London….despite promising in his manifesto to “require that estate regeneration only takes place where there is resident support, based on full and transparent consultation.”
By Sian Berry