(b) Chronology of public consultation
The following timetable merges information from personal notes and documents written by CGE residents in an intensively collaborative exorcise as part of the LBL public consultation, two Judicial Reviews, preparation of CGE residents ‘The Peoples Plan’ (TPP) and applications to the the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to exercise the Right to transfer RTT and Right To Manage (RTM) CGE.
Nov 1963 - First CPO Mar 1967 - Design started Jan 1969 - Housing committee approved design Feb 1971 - Carlton Contractors chosen after tender process May 1971 - Work started on site Sep 1978 - Handover of final blocks
Jul 2012: CGE Tenants and Residents Association (TRA) raises issues with LBL around inadequate repairs and maintenance.
Sep 2012: LBL exhibition in CGE stating that they have inadequate funds in the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) for repairs & maintenance.
Nov 2013: Draft report from survey by Tall Engineers published, which states that the biggest problem on the estate are due to lack of repairs & maintenance rather than structural issues.
May 2014: Lambeth Labour elected to the council winning a huge majority of 59 out of 63 council seats, with a pledge to build 1,000 extra homes council (Lambeth Labour Party 2014)
Aug 2014: Residents initiate inquiries with the DCLG regarding resident-led management options
Nov 2014: LBL issues a regeneration consultation document to all residents, that includes the option of full refurbishment (Option 1) and the establishment of a sub-workgroup of residents to look at resident-led management.
20 Nov 2014: PAQ submitted to DCLG to explore the options of resident-led management
5 Dec 2014: DCLG approves that Cressingham Gardens residents can enter the Explore the Options phase, engage an advisor and submit an application for funding.
Feb 2015: LBL’s Tenant Management team provide advice to residents on how to appoint an advisor and confirm that “team would be happy to support you in the process.” [Annex 2]
Feb 2015: Contrary to its communicated consultation process, LBL housing cabinet member, Cllr Matthew Bennett, decides to remove the full refurbishment (Option 1) and infill options (Options 2 & 3) from consideration and stop the consultation process. Many of the sub-workgroups were not permitted to meet again and finalise findings. Internally, Cllr Bennett allegedly requests a memo from LBL’s Finance department to support his decision. (This latter request was subsequently uncovered via a FOI)
9 Mar 2015: LBL Cabinet approved the removal of the full refurbishment and infill options (Option 1-3) from consideration.
13 Mar 2015: Residents sent out invites and brief to organisations to apply for the role as lead advisor to look at alternative forms of resident management (ETO, Exploring the Options).
Apr 2015: Residents interview organisations for lead advisor role and then appoint Open Communities.
May 2015: First funding application for ETO phase submitted to DCLG. Required LBL officer signature, but they delayed and eventually refused to sign in November 2015.
Jul 2015: LBL Cabinet confirms the full demolition (Option 5) of Cressingham Gardens.
Jul 2015: High Court judge rules that residents have a case for a judicial review of the council’s regeneration consultation.
Nov 2015: High Court judge Mrs Justice Laing finds that LBL council has acted unlawfully in its consultation and quashed the Mar 2015 cabinet decision to stop the consultation process and remove the refurbishment and infill options from consideration. The follow-on Jul 2015 cabinet decision was thus also quashed (The Honourable Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing 2015).
Jan 2016: LBL “resumes” consultation rather than appeal the High Court decision.
04 Mar 2016 (Friday): CGE residents deliver The People’s Plan (TPP) at 5pm as a response LBL’s consultation.
07 Mar 2016 (Monday): Final draft of cabinet report submitted to executive officers for final comments that included dismissal of People’s Plan.
20 Mar 2016: Community votes to serve notices for both Right to Manage (RTM) and right to Transfer (RTT) on LBL.
21 Mar 2016 (am): RTM and RTT notices served on the council.
21 Mar 2016 (pm): LBL cabinet approves decision for the second time for the full demolition of CGE.
Apr 2016: LBL issues summary dashboard of new 30 year Housing Revenue Account (HRA) business plan. The debt cap is no longer an issue (with £52m free debt capacity available at the lowest point), but for an un-identified reason the HRA is shown to be bankrupt by 2019/20 which would be an unlawful position. This new business plan shows that the HRA position never recovers over the 30 years, but rather annually goes further and further into the red, with total net loss by year 30 of -£194m.
9 May 2016: Scrutiny Call-In of March 2016 cabinet decision.
27 May 2016: LBL notifies residents that they plan to submit a request for determination to the DCLG within 21 days under the RTT Regulations.
Jun 2016: Despite pending judicial review, council begins re-tendering process for a development management teams, with an interview and selection process involving members of the Resident Engagement Panel.
Aug 2016: The High Court judge rules that CGE residents have a case for a second judicial review of the council’s regeneration consultation on the following grounds:
- Erroneously included a £7.5m loan to the SPV in its calculation of the Net Present Value (NPV), which would have otherwise for each of the options resulted in its own preferred demolition option failing the ‘must achieve criteria’.
- Misled its own Cabinet members as to ‘The People’s Plan’ and/or the members failed conscientiously to take into account key aspects of key aspects of this consultation response.
- Failed to provide up-to-date data relating to the HRA finances to either the consultees or the Cabinet members, such that they were (respectively) not properly able to comment on or take into account the data.
- Breached tenant’s right to property under Article 1, Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, combined with his right to respect for a home, by removing his existing ‘Right to Buy’ contrary to current government policy.
As a consequence of this ruling LBL is not permitted to do anything “irreversible” and can’t rely on any subsequent actions on their part to argue that they have made concrete commitments and move forward.
Sep 2016: LBL submits notice for determination 4 months after initial notice of intention on the 27 May 2016, not 21 days as is required by the DGLC.
Oct 2016: CGE residents submit response to notice of determination. A response is due 28 days later.
Nov 2016: 16th, 17th, 18th second Judicial review proceedings.
Nov 2016: 21st deadline for final LBL “key guarantees” consultation with tenants and homeowners. These guarantees outline LBL commitments and what residents should expect to happen after their homes are demolished.