Regeneration blight - look out, leaseholders!

November 8, 2016

Leaseholders living in the demolition zone face compulsory relocation: if you don't consent to move, Wandsworth Borough Council will have recourse to compulsory purchase ordering legislation to buy you out, at what they have already defined as a 'no-regeneration-world' price.


As the poor leaseholders of the West Hendon Estate under Barnet Council's control found, the buy-out

compensation they were forced into accepting fell far below any genuine market value.


Aiding the Council's artificially low estimate, in this case comes into play the whole concept of the 'no regeneration-world' value of their property. What exactly is a 'no regeneration-world' price ?


As we know, the price of a commodity (as sadly that basic human need, housing, has become) depends amongst other things, on demand for that commodity.


It's at this point that the ARW has to share with you the proof that the value of properties on the Alton Estate is now likely to fall, in a way that compromises the recompense likely to be offered by Wandsworth Borough council.


In July of this year, we received this communication via Facebook:


Q: Hi there, we're a young family looking to buy our first home, and we visited a house today on Swanwick

Close on the Alton Estate. We really loved the house and love the estate and local area but then we came across this page [ARW Facebook] - and it seems maybe there are things we should know before thinking of making an offer... Is there anything in particular we should be aware of? We'd be really grateful for any suggestions or advice. Thanks so much


A: (we replied giving our view of an objective answer to the question, see below)


Q: Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, and in such depth. We appreciate it a lot. Unfortunately we think it's probably too much of a gamble to buy with so much uncertainty around the future of the estate. We loved the house and it's such a shame that these "regeneration" plans are pushed through with so little consideration for residents. We have been renting in Brixton, Lambeth, for years now and a similar thing is happening to Cressingham Gardens, a beautiful estate near us that the council is now proposing to demolish. Wishing you all the best in your campaigning and for whatever the future holds. Thanks so much again and best wishes.


That ARW response in full:


A: Hi !
It's really good you've become aware of the possible issues before buying.


In a nutshell, the council (Wandsworth Borough Council) has approved its own plans for a 'regeneration' of this area, starting in (probably) early 2018. The heart of the 'regeneration' is Danebury Avenue (the main drag running from Roehampton Lane, the main road at the top down past the entrance to Swanwick Close and ending near Richmond Park). This is mostly focussed round the top end, where the Post Office, Co-Op and shops are, but there is also secondary 'regeneration' planned for Portswood Place (the small shopping parade just past Swanwick Close).


What this will mean for you if you do move in is that in 18 months or so, demolition and rebuilding will be taking place on or around Danebury Avenue and/or Portswood Place, with a so far unassessed impact on our local shops and quality of life. At the worst, the main avenue and shops will be closed, prolonged noise and dust pollution will start, and we will be faced with living on a building site [forecasts of how long it'll all take vary from 5 to 10 years]. Phasing of all this is unknown at present, and will only be disclosed after the Council chooses the developer (and precise scheme) at the end of this year.


There is no reason to believe Swanwick Close will be directly affected, but it is a stone's throw from Portswood Place and depends on Danebury Avenue as the only exit from the Estate. (There are also unanswered questions about how the higher density of housing will be provided for in terms of schools, health and other facilities.)


If you're interested to find out more, our group holds its next meeting 20th July, 7:30 at the DARA Club, just beyond the end of Swanwick Close. You'd be very welcome. If you need to know more, sooner, just drop us an email to to fix up something sooner. Having said all this, the plus side is that I'd share your impressions of the area and its community - we love living here, and we don't want it to be ruined by heavy-handed 'regeneration'.

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