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. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    I took notes. But have not written them up yet. A few comments.

    Agree with Gniewosz and Single Aspect that Cllr Marcia Cameron did not do well. She was defensive and irritable. I looked to see if she has post in the ruling group. She is not in Cabinet but is:

    :facepalm: What can I say. Maybe she just had a bad day?

    The only thing I disagree with in Andreas piece is this:

    Really did not get the feeling in the audience that race or gender was an issue.

    I did notice that the speakers from Cressingham Gardens did show diversity in action. A real wide section of people live on that estate. And they support each other. Despite the rather unpleasant insinuations from Cllr Cameron of splits on the estate re regeneration. The leaseholders and Council tenants said several times at the meeting that they were all residents together.

    I did notice that Cllr Bennett did not come to Marcia aid in the debate. He somehow did not get the flack that she did. He had a good grasp of facts and figures. He managed to deal with the attacks from the Green party member on the panel.

    My take on this is that I have seen how residents can be ground down. This happened on the Guiness Trust estate in Brixton. As one of the academics Paul Watts said these regen schemes go on for years and take a toll on people.

    Paul Watts from Birbeck was very good. It was the two academics on the panel who both put the human needs first. Who see it from what Lambeth call the "customers":facepalm: point of view. Residents are not "customers" ffs.

    Secondly Cllr Cameron. She is low level Cllr. Not full Cabinet member. The way the Labour Group operates is top down. Back bench Cllrs like her are under pressure. You would have thought they would have more freedom of manoeuvre. In public they do not. If they want to stay selected for a seat or have chance of promotion.

    She did say that putting forward that estate for regen was her idea. I do not think it would have been. Officers have been looking at estates to "regenerate". Cressingham Gardens is one where they think they could build more housing than there is now. Her task would have been to get the residents on board with the idea of "regeneration".

    Bennett is one of those really irritating New Labour types who look incredibly young. Probably because they are. A slick operator. Went to Cambridge and works for ex Lambeth Council leader Steve Reed MP. A bit like the last Cabinet member for housing. Whose name escapes me. He went to US.

    There is a political class. Comprising of Oxford/ Cambridge graduates who went straight from the ivory towers into a political career. Someone has just lent me Owen Jones new book "The Establishment" which covers this. ( "Chavs the demonisation of the working class" by him is a must read). They just irritate me.

    I heard Ken Livingstone talking about democracy recently. He said back in his day at Lambeth a lot of the Cllrs were ordinary people. He said they might not have had degrees or much in the way of qualifications but they were good Cllrs.

    One of the academics said that the whole political class had let London down on the housing issue. I think part of the problem is that know politics is now a career option (Oxford or Cambridge degree helps). Its part of the establishment.

    Bennett incensed me with his attack on Short Life housing. He was replying to question from someone from Lambeth United who are S/L group. With Marcia agreeing with him. Using the house with a tree in it again. Implying we were all low lives. The Council are really going to town on that one. It was on his twitter next day

    I was not going to speak at the meeting as I wanted to her what Cressingham Gardens had to say. But I was not having that from him. Nor am I in Lambeth United . Do not lose my temper that often. But insisted I get right to reply. Fair play to the chair Dave Hill that he let me speak. I was pretty angry.

    Told him that I had donated the Coop archives and my stuff on Short Life housing to Lambeth archives. That there was a history of "Short Life" bringing back into use buildings that would otherwise have been left empty to rot. Which was an honourable history. On one of there flagship (Cooperative Council :facepalm:) schemes they had evicted a community and left the building empty. The academics had said breaking up existing communities damages peoples well being. That it had bad affect on me. That I found his comments on S/L an insult.

    He did not have an answer to that. Seemed to go down well with the audience.

    Probably easier for me to say what I think now the Coop is gone. I do not have to bear in mind that I am representing other people.

    Reminds me that I need to get in touch with Lambeth Archives to see if the stuff we donated is catalogued yet. So can be for public view.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
  2. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Yes it was a great space. The acoustics were good as well.

    It was well chaired by Dave Hill. Not an easy meeting to chair. With people who were very upset and pissed off with what was happening to them. Dave kept order without being over bearing. He also kept the meeting moving onto next question rather than getting bogged down one one issue. Only lapsed when he had a go at Green party member on panel a few times. Dave does not seem to think Green party have credible alternative to (New) Labour.

    All credit to Cressingham gardens for getting such a good panel. I was particularly impressed by the two academics.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
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  3. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Looking up Cllr Bennett. Found this. Bennett talking about another estate in Lambeth:

    So its clear that Lambeth are looking at there estates to build more houses on them than before.

    At the debate it was questioned how much in reality Lambeth could increase its stock in this way. Not by that much in reality.

    One of the academics said that knocking down all or parts of existing estates was not a green way to do things. Buildings contain embodied energy that is used in making them. This is not taken into account in regen schemes.

    So knocking down an existing estate should be a last option. If all else fails.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2014
  4. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    The open bits of land at the back of the estate (including the mounds) are part of the Brockwell conservation area, therefore can't be built on.

    OTOH because most of the estate now has UPVC framed windows and doors (double glazed) and they don't follow the original design or shape closely enough, (hence the wide strips of white plastic) the estate missed the listing criteria. This is what happens when you get the job done cheaply instead of well. :rolleyes:
    friendofdorothy and Gramsci like this.
  5. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    Not only that, carbon offsetting (as done with holiday flights) could also be used to partly fund estate repairs if insulation was improved at the same time. There is plenty of funding out there for building with various levels of ecofriendliness - not just one or two obscure schemes.
    Gramsci likes this.
  6. Belushi

    Belushi 01 811 8055 R.I.P.

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  7. Single Aspect

    Single Aspect Member

    Both Municipal Dreams and Single Aspect have written about the estate in great detail. Anybody who can be bothered to read both articles will be well informed about Cressingham Gardens.
    Gramsci and Greebo like this.
  8. Belushi

    Belushi 01 811 8055 R.I.P.

    Great blog Single Aspect as someone who lives in a dual aspect flat I can't agree with you enough about it's importance :thumbs :
    Greebo likes this.
  9. Single Aspect

    Single Aspect Member

    Which development please? Or is it simply a street house? I'm not asking for personal details just in general.
  10. Belushi

    Belushi 01 811 8055 R.I.P.

    I'll pm you :)
  11. CH1

    CH1 "Red Guard"(NLYL)

    In my opinion by constantly seeking schemes in conjunction with private developers, funded by the sale of private housing on the council's land the Labour Party really are transforming the population of the borough - making it more middle class or wealthy if you like.

    If that is not social cleansing, what is?
  12. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    FWIW I've spoken to Marcia Cameron during at least one workshop run on the estate. In my arrogant opinion she was just as dismissive and patronising then (towards anyone who didn't agree that the entire estate needs demolishing and rebuilding) as she was at the Question Time event. The same goes for Matthew Bennett.

    Were I to give Cameron an easier time because of skin colour or genitals, that would be insulting her. I expect her to have got where she is because of ability and competence, if she fails, she gets as hard a time as any other councillor or politician.

    When she actually listens to people living here (instead of a chosen few who say what she wants to hear in order to further her agenda) I'll be only too happy to praise her. Not holding my breath though...
  13. Single Aspect

    Single Aspect Member

  14. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Ah, you mean Pete Robbins, of ill repute and memory.
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  15. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    It's not necessary, unfortunately, for the audience to have made an issue, for Marcia to make it an issue if she wanted. This is not to say that she would, but blaming prejudice for her poor performance would get her off the hook with her councillor colleagues.

    If Cameron had been talking about the mid '90s, when I moved here, then I'd have said "yes, there's a little bit of friction between leaseholders and tenants, but it's the usual stuff that's actually just friction between people living on the same street/close - complaints about pets, and resentment that leaseholders end up paying for repairs that tenants don't".
    We have a common cause - we like living here (some of us would say "love living here"), and we've no wish to see what are actually quite excellent homes demolished just so that the council can pocket some ready cash from developers. We're only in the delapidation situation that we're in because the council has spent around the last 10 years avoiding doing basic maintenance, and has pretty much only addressed "priority" repairs such as busted heating and plumbing. Back when I first moved here, gutters were cleared 2-4 times while the leaves were falling. In the last ten years, some years they've not been cleared at all, and most of the rest of the time, just once a year. Lambeth council have made (as is usual for Lambeth) a rod for their own back with regard to maintenance on Cressingham Gardens, just like they did in the '80s on another Lambeth estate I lived on - Clapham Park - where simple problems (blown pointing, warped metal window frames and failed damp course being the main issues) were left until they'd resulted in thoroughgoing water penetration, draftiness and insoluble damp, which (you guessed it!) ended up being some of the reasons regen was pushed at Clapham Park in the late '90s with the Single European Regen Grant money.
    While I'm aware that there are excuses the council can deploy for appalling maintenance, not least that being compelled to shift from directly-employed labour to Compulsory Competitive Tendering took a bite out of the budget of every department it affected, often between 10 and 15%, that's still no excuse for the rather pathetic state of maintenance across the entire borough. Even the greenest councillor knows that if you leave a minor maintenance problem, it will become a major problem.

    It should be borne in mind that the estates "targeted" for regeneration (Myatts Fields, us and the seven others recently named) share a common trait - they all have several acres of undeveloped land per site. Cameron was probably "hooked" by the previous "cabinet member for housing" by him talking up how regeneration would play out for her politically - without of course mentioning that any residents might be awkward cusses!

    As you're aware, I've said before that at least back in the '70s and '80s, when Lambeth's Labour councillors were being reviled as "loony lefties", they actually got stuff done, and quite often because they were in the same boat as us, and from the same class. I was saying to Greebo the other day about how Linda Bellos, Ted Knight et al , back then, wouldn't have even tried this "development partner" shit on people, because they would have expected their constituents to see it for what it was - the giving away of public assets for the benefit of private pockets.

    They've settled on a party line, and one that they won't and can't break for fear of showing themselves up as the dishonest, disingenuous grovellers-to-finance that they actually are.

    I used to walk around Brixton and Stockwell a fair bit in the '80s. I remember just how delapidated some of the houses this end of Brixton, on Acre Lane, Landor Rd and other areas were, let alone places like St. Agnes. Without short-life and squatting whole streets would have been lost. As it is, it's an incredible testament to Lambeth's housing co-ops, squatters and short-lifers that so many of those streets that looked like they'd have fallen down by the late '80s/early '90s are still there for the council to shamefully steal back from the people living there - and "steal" isn't too strong a word, because Lambeth blithely broke many verbal agreements in order to repossess those properties.
    friendofdorothy, Greebo and Gramsci like this.
  16. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Well, Donatus did say that there's too much social housing in Lambeth, and by very obvious implication, too many social housing tenants!
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  17. Single Aspect

    Single Aspect Member

    That was Michael Edwards from UCL. He's a knowledgable guy.
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  18. RubyToogood

    RubyToogood can't remember what goes here

    No I don't, sorry.
  19. superfly101

    superfly101 Well-Known Member

    Just been a piece on BBC London News about 15 mins in.

    Not sure you'll be happy with it though!
  20. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    Thanks, here's hoping they repeat it later this evening.
  21. Single Aspect

    Single Aspect Member

    No need to wait. It's here
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  22. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    Consulted my arse.

    People living here have only been listened to when they've said what various councillors want to hear. :rolleyes:
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  23. Gniewosz

    Gniewosz Active Member

    More that they are on record, greater the fall later... Still spouting that they can't afford Option 1. If they can't afford Option 1 then they can't afford any of the other options according to even their numbers.
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  24. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

  25. Single Aspect

    Single Aspect Member

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  26. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    Excuse any typos, I seem to be on the dge of a migraine. Nothing, of course, to do with last night. :rolleyes:

    Okay, the test of opinion is due some time later this month, or in February.

    So far, only one person per household will be asked.

    The rsults of that will go back to the council. They do not have to abide by any views expressed at all.

    They do not have to even mention the results of it when it goes to Cabinet.

    What's the bloody point, except to go down fighting? :facepalm:
  27. editor

    editor hiraethified

  28. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    I've written a letter to the SLP mentioning that if the test of opinion isn't binding, then "consultation" with "The Co-operative Council" is a sham, but that as a long-time Lambeth resident I'm not really surprised about it, given Lambeth "new" Labour's history.
    Gramsci, Greebo and Tricky Skills like this.
  29. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    My letter got printed in Friday's South London Press:

    Lambeth's consultation of Cressingham Gardens residents is a sham ("Repair or regenerate?" SLP December 19).
    At the recent consultation of Cressingham Gardens residents about the five regeneration options being offered by Lambeth for the estate,it was made clear that any "test of opinion" (Lambeth's term) made of estate residents will be non-binding on any Lambeth cabinet decision regarding the estate's redevelopment.
    So much for the "co-operative council" and all the fine words from (former leader) Steve Reed and now Lib Peck (leader) about engagement and co-operation.
    From my perspective as a tenant on Cressingham, this is the same sort of "we'll only listen if your views coincide with ours" top-down,non community-led bulldozing that Lambeth council has always engaged in.
    Plus ça change...
    T & P, Gramsci, 299 old timer and 5 others like this.
  30. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    Well, IMHO that was a wasted evening. Potemkin villages spring to mind. And I'm as guilty as the next participant in this farce.

    What else should one have expected as a Lambeth resident? :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2015

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