Protest March to Save Cressingham Gardens
This Saturday 18th October residents and wider community plan to march to Lambeth Town Hall in protest at plans to regenerate the Cressingham Gardens estate which could lead to the partial or complete demolition of nearly 300 homes on the edge of Brockwell Park. All are welcome to join. The march will be leaving at 11am from the rotunda on Cressingham Gardens.
For those who have been fortunate enough to go on one of the tours around the estate during London Open House weekend, will have seen first hand what makes Cressingham Gardens so special. Even though high density, it has been cleverly laid out so that with staggered building heights and fully pedestrianized ways it fits snugly under the tree line at the edge of Brockwell Park’s meadows to give park visitors the feel that they are in the countryside and not in Zone 2 London. It was designed and built under one of the leading architects of the time Ted Hollamby, who believed in building for people and community. Connected to Cressingham Gardens are also John Major, Ken Livingstone and Ted Happold. And in 1981, Lord Esher described Cressingham Gardens estate as ‘warm and informal… one of the nicest small schemes in England.’ Today it houses a truly mixed community across all walks of life.
Lambeth council put the estate into the regeneration program ostensibly because they didn't have enough money to fulfil its legal obligations under the decent homes standard and to continue to maintain the estate. However, the estate generates £1.2m pa for the council, but the repairs budget is only around £200k. Where is the money going? The Tenants and Residents Association (TRA) also carried out a survey of over 100 households with around 80% saying they wanted to have repairs carried out in order that they could stay on the estate. The council also employed an independent company, Social Life, who carried out their own survey of residents with around 109 respondents, and their results confirmed the TRA findings. The attitude in summary of the majority of residents is regeneration is not needed or wanted.
Lambeth council claim the regeneration project will ease pressure on the waiting list but no new social housing is promised while leasehold properties would be replaced with higher priced housing. Lambeth, calling themselves a co-operative council, originally stating they were prepared to listen to residents are now threatening a shotgun consultation with four “workshops” open to residents.
The prospects for residents if regeneration goes ahead are bleak. It would mean the break up of a community, leaseholders would be unlikely to be able to afford the new properties and would probably face having to move out of London altogether. Tenants, many of them elderly and with disabilities would be expected to move twice and face living with the dust and disruption of construction. Also, there will be an impact on the views from the meadows of Brockwell Park.