London councils may have to ballot tenants pre-regeneration

5 Feb 18

London boroughs will need to ballot tenants before embarking on large-scale estate regeneration projects or risk losing City Hall funds, mayor Sadiq Khan has warned.

Khan released a guide to estate regeneration that proposed mandatory tenant ballots on Friday last week.

City Hall said it forms part of wider calls from the mayor to empower tenants following last year’s Grenfell Tower fire.

But Khan’s suggestion also came at the end of a week that saw Haringey leader Claire Kober announce she would step down from elected office in May amid controversy over a major regeneration scheme in the borough, which has provoked vicious Labour Party in-fighting.

Opponents of the Haringey Development Vehicle have claimed there has been insufficient consultation with residents who will be directly affected.

Khan said: “I want to make sure people living on social housing estates, who have the greatest interest in their future, are at the heart of any decisions from the outset.

“By involving residents and putting social housing first, we can make sure plans for estate regeneration help build a city for all Londoners.”

There will be a two-month consultation on the mayor’s plans for ballots and whether they should become a condition of funding for new schemes.

Specifically, where demolition of existing estates is involved, the mayor wants to see, at a minimum, no loss in the number of social homes available and full rights to remain or return for tenants.

Lord Bob Kerslake, former permanent secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, said ballots had the potential to build trust between residents and landlords.

“Where they back regeneration plans, they can give everyone involved the certainty they need to get on with building more and better social housing for local people.”

Responding to Khan’s call, Sir Steve Bullock, executive member for housing at London Councils, said: “All London boroughs recognise the importance of thorough and timely engagement with residents on estate regeneration schemes of all kinds and we look forward to seeing the detail of these proposals.

“We are very aware of the need to genuinely and meaningfully engage with residents throughout the process of regeneration from start to finish, and of the need to build new homes, particularly genuinely affordable homes.”

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and

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