Kingston Council is one of the first London boroughs to agree to hold a resident ballot for its Cambridge Road Estate regeneration project, where it plans to build around 2,000 new homes over the next 10 years.
The voluntary ballot will be binding and will only take place once there are concrete plans and designs to share with residents. The decision to undertake a ballot has been welcomed by the Mayor of London, who strongly supports their use in all plans for estate regeneration.
As part of the plans, the council has committed to the re-provision of the existing social rented homes and affordable options for existing leaseholders so that all of those who wish to stay on the estate are able to do so. As well as new high quality council homes, the programme is intended to deliver better community facilities and outdoor spaces within the estate.
Cllr Liz Green, Leader of Kingston Council, said: “It is a key priority of the council to ensure that residents and the local community are at the heart of the regeneration of Cambridge Road Estate both now and in the future. We have made a real commitment to listen to those living on the estate and will work closely with residents on how the estate will be developed so that it is fit for the future. This is the first step in making sure that happens.
“We have discussed the voluntary ballot with the Mayor of London and asked for additional funding for the Cambridge Road Estate so that we can specifically add more council homes. The Mayor was supportive of this and we look forward to working together.
“We will be talking to all residents so that they understand the implications of the plans and are clear on how it affects them so that they can make a decision on whether they want to take part in a ballot.”
Working with the Greater London Authority (GLA), the council is committed to building more social housing in the borough and the GLA has already provided £46m funding to support these ambitious plans.
James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing & Residential Development at the Greater London Authority, said: “When estate regeneration is done well — with residents at the heart of decision-making — it can improve homes for existing residents, create more social housing, and provide better outdoor spaces. We welcome Kingston’s commitment to ballots and we look forward to working together to build more council homes.”
In February 2018 Mayor Sadiq Khan published the Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration calling on councils and housing associations to ballot estate residents on large GLA-funded schemes involving demolition. The move was designed to make sure people living on housing estates were at the heart of any decisions from the outset.