Around Ealing February/March 2019 - Page 27

HOUSING Vote for change Residents of an estate have overwhelmingly backed Ealing Council’s plans to rebuild their neighbourhood, in the first ballot of its kind in London. Quinton Drawbridge reports. M ore than half of eligible residents from the High Lane estate in Hanwell took part in the ballot – with 90% of them voting ‘Yes’ to the plans. The ballot was run for the council by Electoral Reform Services, an independent body – and it is the first time a ballot has been used by a London council to determine public support for a regeneration scheme. In October, the council committed to using a ballot at the end of consultations on estate regeneration plans to make sure residents have the final say on the future of their homes. It reflects a new initiative from the Greater London Authority (GLA), which has made grant funding available for council home building as long as it is approved by affected residents. Under the new plans, High Lane will include a mix of types of home, including social rent, London Affordable Rent, shared equity and private sales. The entire neighbourhood will be rebuilt, creating a new shop, community centre and a multi-use games area. All current tenants are guaranteed to get a modern, safe and comfortable home on the rebuilt estate if they want one, while leaseholders can either opt An artist’s impression of the renewed estate to leave the estate with a market value payment for their home, or stay with a share of the equity in a new home. Councillor Peter Mason is Ealing Council’s cabinet member for housing, planning and transformation. He said: “We have embraced ballots on our council estates as the best way of putting residents at the heart of the decision-making process. “The GLA’s decision to enshrine the need for ballots on regenerated estates is an approach that we’ve enthusiastically adopted and, with the result of this ballot, we have set a standard that we hope the rest of London will follow. “The plans will offer residents the high-quality homes they deserve, and no other local authority has gone as far as us in ensuring residents get a good deal and are not out of pocket because of the regeneration. Our well-established, award-winning estate regeneration programme has given us a wealth of experience, which will be vital in making a real success of the renewed estate.” The existing High Lane estate around ealing    February 2019 27