Several times we covered Lambeth’s crazy plan to demolish 3 of the finest Council estates in London all of which should be conservation areas. BTW in London EH can do moe than recommend they re declared conservation areas, they should declare them.
Lambeth Council has quashed the planning permission it gave to one of its controversial estate regeneration schemes, instead of fighting a legal challenge from residents
In February, Lambeth’s planning committee approved plans by Homes for Lambeth, the local authority’s wholly-owned housing company, to demolish 12 homes on the Cressingham Gardens estate.
Last week it was announced that residents had been granted a judicial review of the scheme, which would have been the third legal challenge over the Ted Hollamby-designed estate’s regeneration.
Residents had launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the challenge but yesterday (21 July) the council took the surprise decision to cancel planning permission for the scheme, instead of spending more taxpayers’ money in court.
The challenge would have focused on whether or not the council had properly considered the heritage aspects of the regeneration scheme, which was drawn up by Conran and Partners.
Instead of a court battle, the council said Homes for Lambeth would commission a further heritage assessment, which will then be submitted to the planning authority. The council will then need to re-consult all interested parties.
A Lambeth Council spokesperson said it regretted the scheme would be delayed but added: ‘We’re not prepared to spend more taxpayers’ money contesting a challenge that could end up delaying these new homes for at least another year while we wait for a court date.
‘Quashing the original permission, and ensuring that an updated plan is put before the Planning Applications Committee, is the cheapest and quickest way of resolving this issue in the interests of everyone in Lambeth.’
Residents fought the latest demolition plans, arguing that the council was seeking to ‘salami-slice’ the estate by securing approval for piecemeal demolitions.
Then in 2016 the council was challenged again over its decision to approve redevelopment, but a judge ruled the council had acted lawfully.
In 2020, the mayor of London withdrew about £35 million from three estate regeneration schemes in south London, including Cressingham Gardens, after they slipped behind schedule.
The estate has already brought two legal challenges against the council. In 2015, Lambeth was forced to rerun a consultation after a court ruled an option for refurbishment had been unfairly dropped.
The funding withdrawal means the council will now have to ballot residents on its plans for Cressingham Gardens, if it involves the demolition of any social homes and the construction of 150 or more homes.
Cressingham was designed and built between 1969 and 1979 by a team of Lambeth Council architects led by architect Ted Hollamby. It comprises 306 homes arranged around a series of connected walkways.
Resident Jo Parkes of Save Cressingham Gardens said: ‘We hope that Lambeth will finally recognise the heritage importance of Cressingham and give it the conservation status that English Heritage suggested back in 2013, rather than wasting time and money on demolition proposals that do not have resident support.’