ST. RAPHAEL'S ESTATE

Over 100 council and housing association estates across London are under threat of demolition. Our research shows where they are.

St. Raphael's estate

Stage: Proposal

793 homes on the St Raphael’s estate in Neasden have been earmarked for potential demolition by Brent Council (see area A in map below).

A Dec 2019 Cabinet report confirms that 522 of these are council owned, the remainder are split evenly between freeholders and leaseholders.

The estate comprises a mix of low-rise three and four-storey maisonette blocks and detached town houses, situated in an area of greenspace alongside the river Brent.

This extract from a 2018 options appraisal confirms that the estate is home to a large proportion of BAME communities:

Within the estate is a church (St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church) and a Tenants & Residents Association Hall (Henderson Hall).

In 2018 Brent Council conducted an options appraisal which confirmed that “a stock condition survey was undertaken during August and September 2018. The findings of the survey reveal the properties to be in a reasonable state of repair (para 3.5).” However, it went on to attribute recent crime and anti-social behaviour issues to the poor design of the estate, which can only be addressed by full redevelopment.

A Dec 2019 Cabinet report acknowledges that the redevelopment scheme is currently unviable and that if it proceeds using current day values there will be a £22m viability gap, meaning that Brent could end up subsidising this or making concessions on design, affordability or infrastructure.

Extract from the Council’s Dec 2019 Cabinet report

A ballot is expected to be held in Autumn 2020, with two options for residents to choose from; infill or comprehensive redevelopment. Brent Council’s FAQ document (distributed to residents in Dec 2019) makes it clear that if infill is the preferred option then the estate may not receive any investment for improving current housing conditions:

Extract from Brent Council’s FAQ document distributed to residents in Dec 2019

Rehousing offer

The small print in Brent’s rehousing offer to leaseholders fails to provide a credible right of return to leaseholders on the redeveloped estate.

Brent requires leaseholders to be able to afford a minimum 50% share in a shared equity home on the redeveloped estate, as well as requiring them to contribute their personal savings into their share(paras 5.8.2 and 5.8.3).

This was ruled unlawful by the Secretary of State following a public inquiry for Aylesbury estate leaseholders in 2015, where Southwark Council had to revise its policy to require a 25% minimum share without savings contributions and with several other concessions i.e. - succession rights, proportioned service charge payments, stamp duty etc. See here for more information on leaseholders’ rights.

Brent Council’s web page: https://www.brent.gov.uk/your-community/st-raphaels-estate/

St Raphael’s campaign group Twitter profile and Facebook page.


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