On 24 November 2015, the High Court ruled in favour of the residents of the Cressingham Gardens Estate in Lambeth.
The court found the council offered insufficient proof that refurbishment rather than demolition would be too expensive, and forcing the council to reopen the consultation process.
Lambeth Council has saying since 2012 that it doesn’t have the money to make basic repairs and it would be cheaper to “redevelop” the estate’s 300 homes.
This would mean residents are turfed out, luxury apartments built in their place, half of them not even lived in but used as financial investments, a handful of so-called affordable flats thrown in sops.
Residents have campaigned consistently. They revealed that the council was inflating the supposedly unaffordable cost of repairs to the estate by having underinvested in the repairs budget in the first place. Lobbies of the council and demonstrations followed, fundraiser gigs were organised.
The council offered only a choice between partial or full demolition of the estate. So resident Eva Bokrosov challenged the council in the High Court.
It has been a well-fought battle. The war is far from over. The council will likely try again to redevelop the estate after the new consultation. Five others in the borough are targeted for “regeneration”.
Local housing campaigns need to link up and make national demands: for rent caps, more council housing, and for councils to be able to seize empty properties and use them.