Lambeth Labour's plan to demolish Cressingham Gardens & build luxury flats around Brockwell Park

Discussion in 'Brixton' started by Brixton Hatter, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    teuchter I'm sure you are more well versed in the nuances of preservation and conservation that me, but it must be a more uphill struggle to get a listing if the local authority obstructs it, surely?

    Meanwhile it is a truth universally acknowledged that Cressingham residents pushed the boat out in showing how their estate is and has been a very liveable example of a modern council development on a medium to small scale. Four residents allowed members of the public to glimpse their household interiors, which gave a brilliant illustration of how whilst the original designs were well thought out, the building design allowed the flexibility for later internal rearrangement.

    Thanks to Cressingham residents for their contribution to Open House London!
    editor likes this.
  2. technical

    technical stripey

    Local authority has nothing to do with listing.

    The most appropriate thing in terms of heritage value for Cressingham would be designation as a conservation area. However, that is a local authority decision, and clearly not going to happen.
    editor likes this.
  3. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member


    I think Cressingham Gardens is worth listing.

    What I have heard is that Heritage England bear in mind the problems that a hard pressed local authority may have if a building it owns is listed.

    In case of the Rec. I think that Heritage England saw it as a unique building. That had not been altered much. One reason why the Council officers opposed listing.
    editor likes this.
  4. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Tell you what, go and tell Heritage England that they're wrong. Most of the households on Cressingham will be eternally grateful if you set H.E. straight! :)
    friendofdorothy and editor like this.
  5. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Ah, if you were one of the visitors last weekend, you probably saw me sitting in my "Save Cressingham Gardens" tent. :)

    The internal rearrangement possibilities are a source of wonder, for some reason, to student architects who visit (we try to accommodate at least one tour a year from architecture schools). For Hollamby they seem to have been a "no-brainer" for an estate where he wanted families to spend their entire life.
  6. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    SAVE Britain's Heritage, Heritage England and the 20th Century Society have all recommended our inclusion in the Brockwell Park conservation area (which already penetrates part of the estate), but as you say, Lambeth will have no truck with that. They've got the £ signs in their eyes, and that's all that matters to them.
    Gramsci and editor like this.
  7. friendofdorothy

    friendofdorothy it is so much worse than Thatcherism now

    I wonder if those cheap PVC frames would pass fire regulations now? Replacement of windows was mentioned as a hazard in the Lakanal house report.
  8. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Good point! I shall make a note to mention that at the next fire safety piece of arse-covering meeting I attend!
    Gramsci and friendofdorothy like this.
  9. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Not the same scenario as Lakanal (or Grenfell) - firstly they are at relatively low level (requirements are less stringent for low rise because it's much easier to get out of the building quickly) and they aren't in a rainscreen type facade or one with materials that are likely to present a fire spread risk (as far as I know).

    PVC windows on interwar/postwar housing estates are a bit of a blight though. Partly aesthetically but also, the frames are usually so much chunkier than the originally intended windows that everyone loses a significant portion of their window openings that can actually let light in. Sometimes there seems to be more PVC frame than glass.
  10. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    If I had any power over HE's listing decisions I'd have also got them to list Robin Hood Gardens, now tragically in the process of demolition. In a couple of decades people will wonder how these decisions could have been made.
    Manter and Gramsci like this.
  11. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Don't I know it. :(
    Every year, H.E.'s choices look more and more like they're deliberately acting to preserve their budget and not startle the (small c) conservative horses.
  12. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    This was the case on the skylights they fitted on the estate, and slight impingement on most of the main windows. Residents are just lucky Hollamby designed these places for sunlighting.
  13. technical

    technical stripey

    I personally also think the estate is worthy of listing, but as Violent Panda has said the replacement of the windows counts against it. There are some large buildings/groups of buildings listed but post-war ones have a very high bar. This wouldn't be a factor in conservation area designation as that is about the wider character and architectural quality of the area. Given the way the estate sits on the edge of the park, it makes perfect sense to extend the Brockwell Park conservation area to encompass the estate - this would be a consideration in planning terms. But its up to the local authority to do it, not Historic England.

    HE has a duty to consult owners on listing recommendations. Wider political issues aren't really supposed to play a part in recommendations, but as the final decision is actually taken by the Secretary of State at the DCMS it inevitably comes into it at times. Robin Hood gardens being a good example.
    snowy_again likes this.
  14. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    I'm in mixed minds about listing of buildings.

    Wider political issues aren't supposed to play a part but they do. One of the reasons the Rec was listed was that it is an example of post war socialist architecture. I actually was surprised how upfront Heritage England where in the listing of the Rec. The Rec represents all that Blairite Nu Labour dislike about post war socialism. Providing large facilities like this for the masses is in the view of Nu Labour fostering welfare dependency. ( Part of the idea of the Coop Council is that people should run services themselves and not expect a something for nothing handout.Going back to Labour tradition of self help not welfare "dependency". Well that's is how Nu Labour see things) The ethos behind Finch's design was correctly seen by HE as putting socialist (Labour party) ideas into practice. One form of socialism that is.

    No surprise a Nu Labour Council oppose listing of Cressingham Gardens and the Rec.

    Architecture is political. I'd rather have a political debate on why a building should be listed. What happens with listing is that people all know it's political but skate around it.

    I went to a talk about Balfron Tower a while ago. The architects were talking of the aesthetics of the building. And whether the refurbishment would be to damage it's aesthetic quality. The fact that it was built as post war Council housing was considered by them to be separated from its design quality. I can't see how one can do this. To divorce aesthetics from politics is political in itself.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
  15. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    You can preserve a building as a record of the politics that created it, but that's different from somehow preserving or continuing those political ambitions.

    About the Balfron tower - if one were to accept the premise that its form came out of the brief for social housing, rather than any other kind of housing, then if you are talking about preserving its essential form (and consequently its aesthetics) then you are talking about preserving that record of the politics that generated it. That could of course come into conflict with refurbishing it for continued use as social housing, because the requirements for social housing (or any kind of housing) are rather different now from what they were in the 1960s. So it could be that continuing a buildings' original use (and original political purpose, if you like) is incompatible with preserving it as a historical record. In that sense there are two issues that can be separated. The purpose of listing a building - at least as I understand it - is primarily to preserve it for historical record. And that is why dicussions relating to a building's listing could appear to ignore issues that might be seen as "political". Of course in reality, politics *does* come into listings when decisions end up getting referred to politicians, as in the case of Robin Hood Gardens.
  16. technical

    technical stripey

    From Jeremy Corbyn's speech this afternoon:

    “Regeneration is a much abused word. Too often what it really means is forced gentrification and social cleansing, as private developers move in and tenants and leaseholders are moved out….So when councils come forward with proposals for regeneration, we will put down two markers based on one simple principle: Regeneration under a Labour government will be for the benefit of the local people, not private developers, not property speculators…. (And) councils will have to win a ballot of existing tenants and leaseholders before any redevelopment scheme can take place. Real regeneration, yes, but for the many not the few.”
  17. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    There's a good piece here on Buzz:

    Hope for Cressingham residents as Jeremy Corbyn states that Councils must conduct a tenant ballot ahead of “social cleansing”
    Gramsci, friendofdorothy and Fingers like this.
  18. Fingers

    Fingers From Tuscany SE22

  19. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    I see that Corbyn has taken sides.

    I'm really glad he has criticised "regeneration". I agree he is criticising (new) Labour Councils. It's not just housing it's the way some Labour Councils approach "regeneration". The mentality behind his senior officers in Regen dept ( most of whom made there careers in Nu Labour Councils) and senior Cllrs is what Corbyn is criticising in his speech.

    Its really good to see an important politician voice what people on the ground have been saying for years. In opposition to Nu Labour thinking like in Lambeth. I'm not a full time activist but I do take an interest in some issues in area. I'm tired of being told I'm not "sensible". Not being taken seriously when I read up on stuff and ask questions. Being made to feel I should not be there as I did at recent meeting.

    I like Corbyn and wish him well. I do think he needs to start taking measures to get removed from the party the kind of people who forced Cllr Rachel out for just representing the real interest of the less well off in Brixton.
    friendofdorothy, oryx and Fingers like this.
  20. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    And it's not just New Labour Cllrs. The way the Council works officers end up being spokespersons of the ruling group. Nu Labour are entrenched in Councils like Lambeth for years. People who have made there careers in local government in Labour run Councils in London are basically Nu Labour. They have imbibed the whole ethos. Doing "partnership" with developers. Enthusiastically supporting private finance led regeneration of areas.

    Now the Labour party is led by socialists it's going to be a struggle to deal with a bureaucracy whose loyality is to Nu Labour. These kind of people have a lot to lose. Good reasonably well paid jobs.
  21. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    My understanding of Balfron Tower was that it was to be refurbished as social housing. It's now to be private. For reasons other than listing.

    Historic Englsnd give a series of reasons for Rec listing. One of which is it's present cultural importance.

    Brixton Recreation Centre, Non Civil Parish - 1436440| Historic England

    So I would say this listing isn't only about recording it's history. It is listing that sees the building in active use. The way I read the listing of the Rec is that the present use ( publicly owned leisure centre) and its design go together. The listing also states it's an example of the architect Finch socialist principles. Historic England came to see the building and talked to people there.

    Reading there reasons for listing they see Rec as a successful design that's still in use and means a lot to the local community.
  22. Puddy_Tat

    Puddy_Tat hmm

    and about bloody time too

    only snag is whether he's actually going to purge the blairites with an iron broom have reasonable discussions with the councils in question and politely suggest they reconsider
    friendofdorothy, Gramsci and editor like this.
  23. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

    It’s an excellent move by Corbyn (and I am not a natural supporter). Hopefully it will help to turn the tide in the right direction in relation to social housing.
    editor likes this.
  24. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

  25. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

  26. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    I see at end of article an anonymous person in a Council said that Corbyn would have to back up what he says with plans for funding.

    Let's get this straight. It's not about funding.

    The Myatts fields / Oval Quarter PFI regeneration scheme fiasco was brain child of Nu Labour thinking on "regeneration". I've posted up in detail on this in Myatts fields thread.

    Corbyn was signalling a break with the Nu Labour orthodoxy on housing ( and acceptance of neo liberalism). During the time Nu Labour were in power they regarded Council estates as the past. Gradually semi privatising them through ALMOs etc was the norm. Council housing itself was regarded as a failure. Lord Adonis and others in the Nu Labour camp argued for move from "monolithic " Council estates to "mixed" communities. A proxy for the social cleansing of working class communities. Nu Labour project was a middle class one. Tony Blair saw the changes brought on by Thatcher , "globalisation" and the worship of "entrepreneurialism" as permanent givens. What Blair offered was middle class politics with a human face. Unlike Thatcher. But in effect Blair was continuation of Thatcher. The working class were supposed to lump it as they had no were else to go.

    The best thing Nu Labour did for Corbyn was making him go for another leadership election and assuming he would be finished off by May. They thought with him destroyed by May they could get back control of the party.

    Unfortunately the way politics works Nu Labour are in control of Lambeth Labour. I think Cressingham Gardens are right to ask him to support them.

    In Jeremy's favour when he was pictured with Bennet his position was not so secure. It is now for time being.

    What Corbyn did in last election was go over the heads of the po!itical e!ite in power in local Councils and Parliament. It is a strategy that worked.

    The other thing that Corbyn and McDonnel have brought back is class. Nu Labour were hostile to class politics. Why in the end they alienated a good section of the core support. They thought the working class were finished.

    So what I'm saying is that this is not about funding it's a sea change in the Labour party. Nu Labour Council like Lambeth are going to fight a rearguard battle to oppose the essence of what Corbyn represents. A return to class politics. There are irreconcilable ideological differences between the likes of Bennett and Corbyn.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  27. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    I think Chuka should stand down as an MP and get a job in the City. I'm sure he would get one straight away. The kind of people he would feel comfortable with.

    He's still trying to undermine Corbyn. Despite fluffing his chance to stand against him.

    He should go. He doesn't support residents. His attacks on Corbyn have been nasty and not proper political discussion. Ie going on about anti semitism. I notice he's given up on that one.
    friendofdorothy likes this.
  28. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    I think you should allow this was totally cross-party.

    I downloaded a document about PFI regeneration schemes the other day - which listed the Regenter Myatts Field North PFI as 2004.
    I happened to be wandering about the area with a fellow Liberal Democrat ex-councillor on Rocket no.9 's Music Hall stars walk last Sunday, and we were commenting on the improved look of the Oval Quarter since the corrugated iron came down. I mentioned to my former colleague (who had said the service charges were very high in these flats) that the Lib Dems must have signed the PFI deal off if it was 2004. "I don't remember it" they said.

    PFI council regeneration seems to have been imposed by government, and councillors probably had little choice in it as a funding choice. Housing/Regeneration departments (and the mayor's office) no doubt did all the dirty work of liaising with developers and councillors simply signed on the dotted line. As they often do.
  29. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    The Myatts field PFI took years to get off the drawing board. I don't get the impression it was forced on Lambeth Council. I remember chatting to a Labour Cllr years back. He was enthusiastic about PFI deals. Nu Labour did really think they could work. That Councils would be able to oversee these PFI projects. So no I don't think Cllrs just signed the dotted line.
    CH1 likes this.
  30. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

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