|HOLLAND ESTATE FEASIBILITY STUDY & CONSULTATION Q and A
Q. Why is EeH planning to demolish the existing blocks and redevelop the estate?
A. No decision has been taken to demolish the blocks and redevelop the estate.
EeH is currently undertaking a feasibility study requested by the residents estate board into options to redevelop part of the estate (known as the BBBC blocks and Wheler House).
The feasibility study was requested by the Holland estate residents board who approved the scope of the feasibility work over a year ago.
Q. What are your plans for consulting residents and taking account of residents'views?
A. EeH made clear when we were requested to undertake the feasibility study that full consultation with all residents must take place before the study could be completed. EeH have been attempting to undertake consultation but this has been suspended following a request that the consultation be postponed and in the light of the disruption at the consultation event held on 7 April 2015.
The approach to consultation is currently under review by EeH and will be resumed as soon as practical.
Q. What is the current progress on the feasibility work on developing the blocks?
A. Architects sketches of potential redevelopment options have been prepared, which incorporate projections on the number of new replacement homes that could be provided. These ideas form the basis of the consultation with residents.
The feasibility indicates that more than double the number of social homes for rent could be provided and there would also be a significant increase in the number of private homes on the estate. These would help pay for the increased number of new affordable homes at social rent on the estate for local people.
The approach taken by EeH in this feasibility work is the same as that taken on other EeH estates elsewhere in Tower Hamlets.
To date, EeH has spent over £125 million in refurbishing our existing estates and building new affordable homes (at social rent levels) for local people.
Our regeneration work has involveda limited number of the demolition of social units and, their replacement with almost 300 new modern homes which meet the aspirations of Tower Hamlets residents in housing need.
For every social home demolished, EeH has built 4 new affordable homes for rent.
EeH is one of the few housing associations to have built and let every single new affordable home at social rent levels.
Q. If you do demolish some of the blocks on this estate, will tenants who have to leave their homes be offered a right of return to the new blocks which will replace the demolished ones?
Q. Will leaseholders be able to return to the new private homes if they have to move?
A. Yes. On our other schemes EeH has worked with leaseholders to develop an offer that has enabled them to return to a new property on the estate.
Q. What about the existing community on the estate?
A. EeH has worked constructively with the community on the Holland estate over the last 10 years.
The objective in a redevelopment option would be for the aspirations of existing residents who wish to remain on the estate to be met by the development of a phased build programme of new homes.
Q. Why was the Open Day on 11th April cancelled at short notice?
A. EeH were asked to postpone the consultation event, and we agreed, given the disruption to the previous consultation held on 7 April 2015.
Q. Attention has been drawn to a figure of £22m which is contained in a Holland estate transfer document signed in 2006.
A. Claims have been made that EeH received £22 million to refurbish Holland estate.
This is not true.
Q. How much did EeH promise to spend on the Holland estate?
A. The key document which sets out what EeH expected to invest in the Holland estate is the Offer Document to tenants.
The Offer Document states that EeH would spend in excess of £15 million on the estate.
EeH to date has invested in excess of £20 million on refurbishing and building new homes on the Holland estate.
Q. If the results of the consultation show that residents are overwhelmingly against the option of redevelopment will EeH still go ahead with this option?
A. The views of all tenants and leaseholders on the estate will inform the decision.
EeH made clear before the feasibility study commenced, that full consultation with all residents must be carried out in order to complete the study. This consultation must ensure that every tenant and leaseholder has the opportunity to meet with EeH to discuss the options and express their views and preferences. Currently, it is very difficult for us to fulfil our commitment to consult with every resident and we are therefore reviewing our approach to consultation on the estate.
Q. When the EeH Board consider the report on the feasibility study what considerations are the Board likely to take into account in making their decision?
A. The EeH Board will need to give careful consideration to the conclusions and recommendations of the feasibility study. In particular the outcome of consultation; the financial projections; and the viability and phasing of redevelopment proposals, with important consideration given to the number of new homes that could be provided at social rents in order to help address housing need in Tower Hamlets.
Q. What other relevant considerations would need to be taken in to account before making a decision?
A. The EeH Board will need to have regard to the views of Tower Hamlets council on a redevelopment option, particularly with regard to planning issues and the extent to which redevelopment could increase the number of affordable homes for rent.
The Board is also aware of the ongoing reduction of affordable homes for rent on the estate due to the effect of the Right to Buy and the need to find ways to replace the homes lost
Within the BBBC blocks on the estate, which comprise the main part of the feasibility study, only 60 social rented homes remain, with the other 82 properties now in private ownership as result of the Right to Buy.
The Board of EeH will therefore need to have the discussion about the options within this context and its commitment as a local charitable housing association to consider all opportunities to increase the supply of affordable homes.