Council plan to redevelop Somerleyton road/ Ovalhouse Theatre to move to the site.

Discussion in 'Brixton' started by Gramsci, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Thats the general idea.

    Minimum of 40% at the same rent as Council Target rent.

    I raised the issue of RTB. Cllrs present supported the idea that way is found to stop it on this site.

    If it goes according to plan ( this is very early stage) then the Council will act as the developer of site. They will get a building firm to build it. But that firm will be under contract to the Council. All they will do is build and Council will retain ownership.

    They are getting Brixton Green to look at "Stewardship model" or Coop model. So not clear yet whether the Council will think about transferring ownership to another not for profit organisation.

    That is still up for discussion.

    My preference is that Council retain ownership of freehold and the buildings on it.

    The Theatre will get a long lease from Council.

    From what Cllr Pete Robbins said the Council is thinking of acting as the landlord of the non Target rent housing. That is new for a Council. Not so sure about this. The plus point is that as Cllr Robbins said the Council can show the private landlords in Lambeth how it should be done. Long tenancies and better rights than private landlords. They effectively are putting themselves in competition with private landlords. No bad thing in a way. I can see the logic in it. Private landlords up rents when they feel like it and have people on short tenancies.

    However it could be slippery slope if Council think they could do this with some of there existing estates.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
  2. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    You are right to mention Osbornes extra discount.

    I was at a Council meeting a while back about something else. On the agenda was a LD Cllr whining about how Council officers were dragging there feet over the increase in people seeking RTB since the wonderful LDs and there Tory friends increased the discount.

    So yes it has made a difference. And the LDs in Lambeth think its wonderful.

    If officers have been dragging there feet good as far as I am concerned.
  3. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Yes and those at meeting told the Cllrs and officers that this is a positive move.

    The Labour Group and Council officer who proposed this deserve credit for actually taking on board peoples concerns.

    Its early days though and pressure needs to be kept up on Council to deliver. The danger is that it could get watered down.

    There was a robust debate about how much at Target rent but basically we all said we supported the Labour group on this first move. I think there will still be a lot of argument about getting 100% target rent. Not sure how the Labour Cllrs will take that.

    Not at all sure what the Brixton Green lot present thought about it.

    There was a consensus that the Council should retain control of the housing and the site as much as possible.

    The important thing imo is that Council propose to retain freehold.

    Nor is this going to be some PFI scheme working with a development "partner".

    The Council are taking a risk here. This is uncharted territory. They are promising a lot and raising peoples hopes. I was surprised that they are doing this. Its quite a change of policy from the Labour Group. Still has to be agreed at the Cabinet next Monday. But they must have discussed this. Seems that Cllr Robbins has facilitated this. He is fully behind it.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
  4. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    Gramsci has given a very thorough account.
    Regarding Crispy's second question/exhortation, Neil Vokes the presenting officer said the council has freedom to innovate financially in this case because the Somerleyton Road site is not currently designated as "Housing". If Lambeth Council actually own Lambeth College's Brixton campus the same would apply.
    Lambeth College is a charity run by governors and may own the site itself.
    Maybe call on Rushy to check the Land Registry?
    Gramsci likes this.
  5. snowy_again

    snowy_again Slush

    CC accounts for Lambeth college should show whether they own the site as an asset? It'll appear on their balance sheet.

    It's an interesting approach on Somerleyton- and seems to deliver the DCLG asset management strategy - untested approaches are v. Pickles, in a 'do it now and fucj the consequences' style.

    Strange that they're not working with Housing Corporation / HAs on the funding given the cost and skills of tenant management. I'm assuming the others with deep pockets at the moment - Sharia funding and student accommodation aren't mentioned. Nor how to create and support a new community re. education, public services, transport, changes in demography etc.

    Was accessible housing (for disabled people) even brought up in the process?

    The concept of the LA being the developer is fraught with potential - whilst lendlease f0cked up southwark and elephant, people aren't employed by LA's generally for their experience in delivering 50m capital projects which include enterprise and arts themes are they?

    Is self build still on the cards? And if so, how would that work on a short-ish leasehold?
  6. snowy_again

    snowy_again Slush

    Sorry, just re-read and seen the passing on to HAs in the report of the meeting.

    Given their lack of consultation in building adaptable homes, it's a missed opportunity.
  7. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    "The College’s Corporation is its Governing Body, a legal body constituted under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 (‘the Act’), and is specified as a further education corporation by the Secretary of State. The College has charitable status and is exempt from registration with the Charity Commission under the provisions of the Act, s22A." [from their website]
  8. leanderman

    leanderman Street Party: July 2

    RTB is a bad thing, except, probably, for the tenants concerned.
  9. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Selling on the affordable housing an HA/ RSL is the traditional model of development when partnering up with a developer. So in theory it will be avoided if the Council build the scheme.

    Its that at meeting there was talk of getting Brixton Green to look at "stewardship models" etc so do not know yet what that will mean with ownership of the buildings.

    No one mentioned building adaptable homes on the site. Good question.

    What do you mean by adaptable homes? Is it housing that can be built in such a way that it can be adapted easily? Or is it part of overall design process? ie Making sure that entrance ways to flats etc are accessible by all. Disabled or not.

    There is supposed to be a lot more opportunities for consultation coming up so be good idea to raise this.
  10. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    No mention of the Housing Corporation. There is hardly any funding for social housing now so I suppose that is the reason.

    Sharia funding? What is that about?

    Student accommodation. Think this was one of Brixton Greens ideas at one point. But they keep changing so never clear where they are coming from. So was self build. Does not look like they are part of scheme now Council have taken the lead.

    I expect that Ovalhouse Theatre will be relied upon by Council for delivering the arts and education side of it. Also did hear that Council thinking of getting OHT to manage some of the work units.

    Agree LAs do not employ people with expertise in delivering capital projects. Unless you count Sue Foster OBE:rolleyes: who worked on Olympics. Well known for her ability to deal with the community. :rolleyes:

    The lead officer on the scheme is good imo. And knows how to deal with people. But I think the Council are going to have to resource this more. This is not the only project he is working on.

    Also cuts mean they are understaffed imo.

    Issue of supporting community did come up in the sense that this would be a cost on the scheme. ie there will be a trade off between building affordable homes and community facilities. Impact on existing service provision like schools was not brought up. So its good question.
  11. Rushy

    Rushy AKA some / certain posters

    I think this is probably correct. I spoke to the director(?) of the College some years ago when they first started looking at this. Can't remember the details but they were definitely talking as if they owned and controlled the site.
    CH1 and Crispy like this.
  12. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    Council report accepted at "cabinet" tonight. Non-councillors presenting: Neil Vokes, Brad Carroll, Deborah Bestwick.
    Brad and Deborah spoke in favour of the project, Neil deferred to Brad in answering Cllr Sally Prentice's question about training schemes as part of the project. Brad said they were doing a study which will report in February next year. Cllr Rachel Heywood was effusive in welcoming Oval House moving to Coldharbour Ward - which had first been mooted in 1999. Have to say that Cllr Pete Robbins intro was most eloquent.
    Gramsci and OvalhouseDB like this.
  13. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Agreed. It was the council officers dragging their feet, and the councillors endorsing them, that prevented more housing stock getting sold off in the '80s and early '90s.
  14. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Perhaps if they're buying a freehold, but leaseholds for local authority social housing properties are so fraught with issues and external costs that often exercising RtB isn't a "good thing" at all. Extra costs for remedial communal building works/renovations can be heavy, and unless you've budgeted for them, you're usually looking at a bank loan to pay for them, or having the LA put a charge on your property.
  15. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Next public workshop for Somerleyton road is on 28th November.

    Wednesday 4th December there is a "Bidders Day". I cannot find any details of the times for this date.

    Also on that link they are looking for organisations who might want to locate onto the site.

    Its necessary to keep the pressure on Council to make sure they deliver on the affordable housing promised on the site and the widening out of the consultation process.
    editor and CH1 like this.
  16. OvalhouseDB

    OvalhouseDB Well-Known Member

    The bidders day on Dec 4th is a pre meeting for any company interested in tendering for the first stage of the devlopment process to ask questions of the council and of the site - it is information to the bidders, rather than the council or public receiving any information from the prospective bidders.
    At this stage prospective bidders submit the Lambeth Business questionnaire and some additional capability questions - a preliminary procurement process (Deadline 7th Jan).

    The next stage will culminate in a bidders day in which companies present their second stage proposals to the community and stakeholders.

    The meeting tomorrow night (as linked by Gramsci above, details here will be a good one for people to contribute to the questions which will be asked of the design team at the second stage, so do go to that if you can.
    Gramsci likes this.
  17. Vibrant-Hubb

    Vibrant-Hubb Well-Known Member

    Gramsci - there is no Housing Corporation anymore. It is now called the HCA - Homes & Communites Agency.
    Gramsci likes this.
  18. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Slightly off topic but related info on Housing.I put this on the Housing thread as well.

    Council Housing finances have changed. Briefly- the new system is called "Self Financing". Each Council has taken on some of the overall debt that was originally held by central Government. This was done using a complicated formula. Some Councils did better than others.

    Lambeth has relatively well out of it. After taking on some of the debt it has £140 - 148 million "headroom". This is the amount of money it can borrow.

    The HRA account also appears to be in surplus. More info here on Self financing / HRA in Lambeth in recent report to Housing Scrutiny.

    Looks to me like Lambeth are being over cautious.

    Other Councils are using the "headroom" and HRA surplus ( which they can now keep unlike under the old system) more creatively.

    See here Inside Housing article.

    Other Councils are using the "Headroom" to improve existing stock and build new housing. New housing which will bring in revenue stream of course.

    The Inside Housing article also says that Lambeth is in top 5 in amount of "Headroom" they are able to use.

    Its a good article summarising this complex subect.

    In page 5 of the pdf link to report above Lambeth say they will use Headroom to :

    Lambeth is expecting to borrow the full amount of funding available to it in order to invest in the housing stock locally. This is being managed through Housing Investment Strategy and seeks to deliver the Lambeth Housing Standard across the borough over a period of time.

    Considering what some other Councils are doing I think Lambeth can be questioned that they are not using the new freedom of movement they now have under "Self Financing".

    Still this is just first thoughts. Im no expert.

    Problem is to argue a case for Council to build. (Southwark argue they have large historic debts to pay off. )
  19. OvalhouseDB

    OvalhouseDB Well-Known Member

    There was a huge and enthusiastic attendance for the Bidders Day this morning. The message was outlined loud and clear: 40% at council tagrget rent, community consultation and input, all were given the detailed consultation that came out of the Social Life workshops. Any still interested will complete the Lambeth Business Questionnaire and then 6 will be chosen to tender.
    editor and Effrasurfer like this.
  20. Effrasurfer

    Effrasurfer SW2 I Love You

    I don't really understand this but I like that we are being kept in the loop.
  21. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    I thought the amount of affordable housing at target rent was still up for discussion? Or have I got it wrong and that is what Council have set? So its not up for consultation? Does not seem a good idea to tell Bidders that only 40% is what the Council are looking for when they being asked to bid to do the scheme. Where does this leave community consultation?

    40% is actually lower than the 50% affordable that is the baseline for negotiations between developers of large privately owned site and Council planners.

    Who was at Bidders meeting? As I was told it was not public meeting and so I could not go.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
    CH1 likes this.
  22. OvalhouseDB

    OvalhouseDB Well-Known Member

    Minimum of 40% at target rent is what the council are aiming for, and the rest 'affordable'. It is still to be determined, and as this is now a council development, not a developer-led project, it is ultimately the council's decision. And is still open to consultation - and the detailed financial modelling.

    About 70 attended from a range of companies as a chance to view the site and meet the LBL project team before deciding whether to submit bids to the first stage of the procurement process as outlined in the Cabinet paper. It wasn't a discussion or decision-making meeting. The attendees ranged from architectural practices to HAs to developers to big consultancies that put projects together.

    Some people may have seen LBL project managers, me and BG members showing parties up and down the road - I know I waved to a few familiar faces who stopped to listen.
  23. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Anyone can forward questions that can be put to those companies or consortium bidding to be "Development Manager and Design Team". By the 16th December.

    Its only on the BG website not on the Future Brixton website but should be passed onto Council.

    What will their role be for the Somerleyton Road Project?

  24. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Next public meeting about the site will be on Wednesday 18th December.

    Looks like free food on offer.:D And "refreshments". :hmm:
    CH1 and editor like this.
  25. OvalhouseDB

    OvalhouseDB Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately I missed the meeting at which the exact nature of the 'refreshments' was decided, but hopefully they will be suitably refreshing and uplifting.
    To pick up on points from the other thread - yes, stakeholders: local residents and others with local involvement - community groups, schools, businesses, etc.
    And to clarify the Bugle's quoting someone from a previous meeting : no, 40% council target rent is not typical (sadly) of most commercial developments as far as I know. There is a huge difference between the 'affordable' (sic) demanded (and oft evaded) of those kinds of developments and target rent / council rent. The Somerleyton Rd development will be a mix of target rent and the new version of 'affordable'. (new because it is soon to be named 'discount' rent, I think - not an LBL namechange, a government / GLA change).

    Do come to the event if you can.
  26. Tricky Skills

    Tricky Skills I demand tea - NOW!

    "Many of you have told us you want more information on the Financial Model for Somerleyton Road..."


    There's a workshop on 23 January, 6:30pm.
    Gramsci and boohoo like this.
  27. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    In their 2010 local election manifesto Lambeth Labour Party pledged that new developments would be 50% affordable. Page 13.

    The new "affordable" rents are not affordable. They can be up to 80% of local market rent.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
    equationgirl likes this.
  28. editor

    editor Taffus Maximus


    Gramsci likes this.
  29. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    I will be going to this.
    OvalhouseDB and editor like this.
  30. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Meeting on "Long Term Stewardship" of the site this coming Wednesday. ie who runs it.

    Sorry did not put it up earlier but it was not on Future Brixton website and I did not get email about it from FB. Only on Brixton Green website.
    Greebo likes this.

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