Welcome to the Aylesbury Leaseholders Action Group. We are a group of leaseholders who have got together as a result of Southwark Council’s plans to compulsory purchase our homes in order to make way for a highly inequitable ‘regeneration’ scheme.
When it took the decision to demolish our homes, the council promised that we would be offered market value, the determination of which would be “based on the average of 2 independent valuations.” (see para. 10)
But the Council reneged on this promise. Instead it has offered market value based on a valuation carried out by officers in its regeneration team. The Council has rejected repeated calls – even from the Mayor – to commission independent valuations. It has also rejected requests for mediation or alternative dispute resolution services and its message to leaseholders is “if you don’t agree with our valuation you can take us to court”. Some leaseholders have done so and on each occasion the court has ruled the Council’s valuation was below market value.
We shouldn’t be forced into costly, lengthy and distressful litigation battles in order to obtain market value for our homes. Many of us have lived on the estate since it was first built and are ending up having to relocate to outer boroughs as a result.
The Council claims that it is offering rehousing assistance to leaseholders but this consists of an offer of shared ownership in one of the new-build homes. But this shared equity deal comes with lots of restrictive clauses in the small print, i.e. there are limits to the amount of equity share on offer and restrictions on capital uplift; i.e. leaseholders’ share of the equity does not increase in line with the property market. Furthermore we are being means-tested in a financial assessment procedure which is not clear and transparent. This results in confusion and is leading to entirely arbitrary decisions as to who qualifies for what kind of rehousing and on what terms. Furthermore, leaseholders are being forced to sign confidentiality agreements preventing them from discussing the terms of their rehousing offer with anyone.
Those who refuse the Council’s offer are left isolated in empty blocks with heating disconnected and the few who remain are served with compulsory purchase orders. We fought them at the last one but the Council hires top barristers and we’re totally out-gunned. Here’s a summary of the last CPO Public Inquiry and a link to our Statement of Case and appendices, and also our opening submission. These provide a brief overview of our arguments.
Ultimately we are fighting for our homes not to be demolished. They are bright and spacious and there is nothing wrong with them. Many of us have been settled here since the estate was first built and the majority of us do not want to move. Homes in later phases are now being brought up to the government’s Decent Homes Standard at a cost of circa £14k per home. Leaseholders are being invoiced for these major works and we see no reason why our homes should refurbished only to be subsequently demolished.
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