Hackney housing activists criticise Sadiq Khan on estate demolition

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Housing activists in Hackney have criticised Sadiq Khan’s guidance on estate demolition and regeneration as “meaningless”.

The Save Northwold E5 group, which is campaigning to protect the Northwold estate in Upper Clapton from demolitions, wants the needs of tenants to be given more focus.

A draft of the Mayor’s ‘Good Practice Guide to Estate Regeneration’, which outlines standards for estate redevelopment, says it aims towards “maintaining good quality homes; supporting the supply of new housing; and improving the social, economic and physical environment in which those homes are located” was published in December.

It has been public for a consultation period, during which time groups have been invited to share their feedback on the document. This period finished on Tuesday and the Save Northwold E5 group issued their lengthy response on Sunday.

Sian Berry, the leader of the Green Party in the London Assembly, has also attacked the Mayor’s guidance.

Save Northwold’s statement claims that although the foreword of the draft contained admirable principles, the content of the draft contradicted these aims. It insisted that the Mayor “must show through this guide that he is he is on our side, not the side of those who seek to profit from demolition of our most precious housing assets”.

Emily Jost, founder of the group, told the Hackney Post: “The first time I read it, I felt like it was written from the comfort of a house on a street. It’s not written from the point of view of anyone whose homes he’s talking about in the guide. It’s written from the point of view of councils and developers.

“I wanted to remind the mayor that he’s talking about people and their lives and their homes and that is what gets lost often in the whole debate around estate regeneration. In his election manifesto, he said there’d be no demolition without the consent of residents and there’s nothing in the guide that sticks to that.”

She added: “Even when he does say things that could be potentially helpful for residents, it’s using the weakest language possible, which makes it meaningless.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London told the Hackney Post: “The planning team will be collating [the feedback] and taking it on board as they refine the document to go forward, so I think at this stage it’s too early to say anything.”