28 January 2020
Lambeth Green Party councillors have this week urged Lambeth Council to cease major regeneration work which began on the South Lambeth Estate on Monday. Contractors arrived on the estate in the morning to begin the process of felling approximately 6 trees outside residents’ homes. Lambeth has removed the original report from the planning website dealing with the removal of trees. The work involved the erection of barriers and tree felling, causing distress to residents, a number of whom expressed concern that mitigating actions had not been agreed and implemented to limit disruption to the environment and vulnerable residents.
Residents of the estate were not notified in advance that the work would be taking place although the tree fellers were told by the council that flyers had been delivered. The council purported to send the newsletter on Sat 11 Jan 2020. These newsletters were later found by the concierge besides a pile of pizza leaflets. The concierges were also not informed.
Several hours after the work had begun, Dreenagh Lyle, Chair of the Residents Association, received an email from a Lambeth Resident Engagement Officer for Homes for Lambeth, notifying her of the tree felling works. In the email, which was only sent to her and was passed on to Green Party councillors, the council officer refers to steps taken to ensure ambulance and other vital services’ access would not be affected. No reference, however, was made to other mitigations being made to minimise the impact of the work on residents, particularly the elderly and those with significant physical impairments requiring specialist needs.
Councillor Pete Elliott (Green Party, Gipsy Hill) said:
“Homes for Lambeth, the council’s regeneration arm, continues to treat the residents of its estates with contempt. Despite repeated requests for information, they have not been kept in the picture as to the regeneration plans for South Lambeth estate - work that will have a significant impact on resident’s day-to-day lives and prove potentially harmful to their mental and physical wellbeing.
The council have a number of crucial questions to answer including:
Why has there been no information given to the residents about the works that started on Monday 13 January 2020?
Who thought it was ok to inform tenants the day that works of this nature is commencing?
What mitigations have been put in place to protect the residents, in particular those more vulnerable?
What is the communications plan for residents going forward?
Until we have answers to these, and can have confidence Lambeth is doing all it can to protect residents, as required by the original equalities impact assessment; we demand Lambeth suspends all work on the South Lambeth Estate.
In the last 6 years Lambeth Council has wasted around £80million on estate regeneration with no benefit delivered to the people of Lambeth including those families in the council’s poor quality temporary accommodation who are desperately seeking safe and secure accommodation for themselves and their children.
Despite the cruel and callous treatment of families on the six estates earmarked for demolition, none of the communities have supported regeneration and Lambeth Council knows this, which is why they have refused to ballot residents.”