Council keeps Aylesbury Estate fight alive

By Marco Cillario - Fri 6 January 2017, 2:47 pm

Southwark Council’s application for a judicial review on the government’s Aylesbury Estate decision has been refused – but the local authority has announced it will appeal.

The council had applied for a judicial review on the decision by Sajid Javid MP, the secretary of state for communities and local government, to reject a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for eight properties in the first development site at the estate – a decision stalling a 3,500-home redevelopment scheme. 

Mr Justice Dove has now turned down the council’s application. Southwark’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, Councillor Mark Williams, reacted to the news by saying the council was “hugely disappointed with this decision and will now pursue an oral hearing to reiterate our case for a judicial review”.

Javid said in September he believed that the council had not done enough to acquire the eight properties by agreement and that the CPO would breach the human rights of the leaseholders, as they would not be able to afford to stay on the estate or live nearby – and thus be forced to move out of the area or to use their savings to buy a new property.

The council’s call for a judicial review focuses on claims that Javid’s findings are based on a former leaseholder policy, which the council claims to have updated in December 2015. It is believed that this was not accounted for in the secretary of state's decision.

Williams said of the council’s resolution to reiterate the case for a judicial review: “This is not a decision we take lightly, but our residents need new affordable homes, and the secretary of state’s decision has huge ramifications for Southwark, and for councils across London that are trying to help tackle the housing crisis.

“On the Aylesbury alone, turning down our CPO means the secretary of state is jeopardising plans for 800 new homes for Londoners, including hundreds at social rent as well as extra care homes for some of our most vulnerable residents. We can’t sit back and jeopardise this fantastic project, and that is why we have to challenge the decision."

A partnership between the council and Notting Hill Housing, the £1.5 billion regeneration of the largest social housing estate in Europe would replace the 2,700 homes currently on site with 3,500 new properties, half of which would be allocated as affordable, across four phases. Work on the first phase was originally expected to start in 2016 and completion of the project was scheduled for 2032.