May 24 2013 Latest news:
Melissa York, Reporter
Friday, October 26, 2012
Newham Council agreed to push ahead with a £1billon university campus in place of the Carpenters Estate in Stratford last night.
The unanimous decision by the council means that the 23-acre site - originally comprising 705 homes - will be developed into an academic, research, and residential quarter for the Engineering, Population Health Sciences, and Built Environment departments.
Protestors, a mixture of residents and University College London (UCL) students, gathered outside Newham Town Hall before the cabinet meeting to highlight the plight of those who do not wish to move to alternative accommodation.
Currently, 318 homes are occupied that are made up of 156 council homes, 66 leaseholds and 96 freeholds.
Osita Madu, chairman of Carpenters Against Regeneration (CARP) and a resident on the estate for 15 years, said he did not feel the Tenant Management Organisation selected to give a deputation at the meeting fully represented the views of all residents.
He said: “I knew that was going to happen all along to be honest. I don’t feel that we were properly consulted or properly heard.
“Towards the end of the meeting, I felt like it was more of a formality than anything else.
“We are not against change. Change is fine but it must not be done at the expense of the people who live there.”
Newham Council dispute the consultation accusations, claiming they have been working with residents to find them suitable accommodation since 2005 and the cost of refurbishing the three tower blocks alone would have cost around £75million.
They also anticipate the UCL development will provide 3,300 new jobs, raise the aspirations of local children, and contribute £150million per year to council funds.
Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham said “This is a fantastic opportunity for Newham residents and I am looking forward to working with UCL to ensure our joint vision is realised.
“This decision supports our vision to transform the Greater Carpenters Neighbourhood into a high quality educational, commercial and residential quarter benefiting Stratford and the rest of the borough.
“It will also act as a catalyst for further investment.”
Residents will wait for a further consultation from Newham Council and UCL on the drafting and development of a masterplan in 2013.