The Mayor of Newham has today announced her intention that all future proposals for the Carpenters Estate in Stratford will be resident led and deliver a minimum of 50 per cent genuinely affordable homes.
Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz made the announcement at Full Council ahead of the publication of a report which will go to Newham Council’s Cabinet next week (4 December) recommending the current joint venture process for the estate, started under the previous administration, is stopped. The report also recommends that the council undertakes a review of options for the estate to deliver the largest proportion of socially rented council homes that is possible, aiming for a minimum of 50 per cent.
The recommendations to end the Joint Venture process follow a review ordered by Mayor Fiaz which found such a partnership would not deliver her pledge to involve residents in shaping the future of the estate and may also restrict the number of genuinely affordable homes which could be delivered.
The report also recommends the rehousing programme on the estate continues in line with the commitments made in the Residents’ Charter so that those wishing to return to the estate at a later date can do so. The report is in line with Mayor of London’s Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration meaning any proposals will require a mandatory ballot of residents.
Mayor Fiaz met with residents on the Carpenters Estate on Saturday 24 November to ensure they were the first to know about the Cabinet report. The meeting was the first in a series of meaningful conversations the Mayor intends to have with residents as part of a comprehensive programme of engagement to inform and shape future proposals.
More than 70 residents attended the first meeting to hear the update from the Mayor and also listened to officers explain what initial work had been carried out to make improvements. These included increased estate office opening hours, more staff to deal with issues and regular block inspections and walkabouts of the area so problems can be quickly identified and resolved. Officers have already worked with the street homeless in the area, helping vulnerable individuals to find accommodation and signposting them to agencies who can offer further assistance.
Mayor Fiaz said: “This is a fresh start for the Carpenters Estate. I want this to be a beacon of good practice in regeneration and residents to be at the heart of it. I ask them to put aside the false promises and false hopes of the past and suspend their disbelief that something different will happen, because it will happen. From now on, I want residents to be at the heart of the decisions that are taken about the future of the Carpenters Estate every step of the way. We all want the estate to be a great neighbourhood to live in – a thriving and connected community and a place that is safe and pleasant with homes that are genuinely affordable.
“I have met with residents on the estate and learnt about their experiences. One of London’s iconic post-war estates built in the sixties, I have been told by some how fantastic it was to move here, to finally have a proper place to call home. Newham is facing a housing crisis and I want the 28,000 people on the housing waiting list to have a place they can call home. The Carpenters Estate has the potential to help do this and I am determined to get on with building more homes, with at least half of them genuinely affordable.
“Beyond just the bricks, Carpenters needs to be a good place to live right now. We are already looking at what we can do to improve the overall feel of the estate and tackle anti-social behaviour. I know residents feel they have not been listened to for many years and they’ve lost confidence and trust in the council. The council is committed to restoring that trust. We need to step up as a council, take the reins firmly and drive progress. We want to establish a place where people want to live and that will stand the test of time.”
If the report is approved at Cabinet, all options will be reviewed at pace with the full involvement of Carpenters Estate residents. At the same time, the council will ensure the estate is managed and maintained to a good standard and introduce a range of measures in conjunction with residents to deliver community benefits which will improve the estate in the short term.
Residents will be given sufficient time to engage with a masterplan and develop proposals, a process it is anticipated which will take between nine to 12 months. A range of construction delivery routes will also be identified.
The council has appointed tenant engagement experts Tpas to provide free impartial and accurate advice to those living on the estate directly affected by future changes.