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Stratford estate’s redevelopment gathers pace

PUBLISHED: 11:05 16 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:05 16 December 2016

The Carpenters estate in Stratford

The Carpenters estate in Stratford

Archant

A councillor has said that it is “time to get the show on the road” in redeveloping the Carpenters Estate.

Cllr Ken Clark, cabinet member for planning and regeneration, also claimed the regeneration would “drastically improve” the lives of those living there.

Cabinet members were told during last night’s meeting at Newham Town Hall that the decision was an important milestone which would see the area fulfil its promise.

Under the redevelopment plans, the Stratford estate will be demolished to make way for 3,000 mixed tenure dwellings, a third of which are described as affordable.

Councillors also expect increases in employment with 20,000 sq m of commercial space planned, along with improved access into Stratford station.

“The regeneration will drastically improve the quality of life for tenants,” Cllr Clark said, adding that it would also give others the opportunity to move to Stratford.

He acknowledged there would be some disruption for tenants “in the short term”, but said there are plans to rehouse tenants, giving them a guarantee they can remain in Stratford “if they wish” with compensation for those whose homes will be demolished to make way for the new buildings.

“We have a track record in returning people to their homes,” he added.

Responding to what he described as a “small minority” who asked to delay the discussion surrounding the estate’s future, Cllr Clark said: “It’s important we face up to the consequences of inaction.

“It’s not fair on the people who live there because we’ve not been able to get the show on the road.

“Delaying this would mean asking hard working families in Newham to wait.”

Since approving in principle a joint venture partnership to redevelop the estate, which the council hopes will see it gain up to 50 per cent of equity in a future deal with developers, councillors have sought legal, property and financial advice.

Councillors voted in favour of procuring a developer on the basis of a corporate equity sharing joint venture company which allows it to become a shareholder in the estate with influence over its management.

Under the joint venture, the council, as the landowner, plans to strike an agreement with the company thereby getting land value payments in return for granting a long leasehold on the site.

The council rejected an alternative scheme which would have seen it gain only as the landowner and not making an investment itself.

It hopes the return on its investment in the regeneration will be “significant” to plough the profits into other regeneration schemes.

The Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales said: “We are maximising what we’ve got for our residents.

“I feel sympathy for people who have to move out, but we have to do what’s right for all our residents.”

Under the proposals, about £1.5m would be dedicated to funding the project taken from next year’s unallocated capital budget.

Cabinet members also gave Cllr Clark the power to approve plans to rehouse existing tenants on the estate and give secure tenants “decant status” with added buy backs speeding up demolition.

In its report to cabinet, the council promises to consult residents on the estate about the rehousing as it expands the area to be emptied so building work can begin.

It also vows to provide “a good level” of service to those who remain on the estate as people are rehoused.

The council anticipates finding a developer by the end of next year and expects the redevelopment to start in 2019, almost 20 years since plans for its regeneration were first proposed.

But the redevelopment has been criticised by some as “gentrification”. After the meeting, Jeff Godwin from housing campaign group Focus E15 said: “It will be impossible for the residents of Newham to buy properties on the estate.”


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