Saving St. Raphael’s Estate: ASH presentation to residents, St. Patrick’s Church

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On Tuesday, 25 February, at the invitation of the campaign to save St. Raphael’s estate from demolition by Brent council, Architects for Social Housing gave a presentation to residents of the estate. At the start of the meeting we asked for a show of hands, and we counted 64 residents from St. Raphael’s estate present, although more arrived over the next two hours. In addition, we had with us the following work group:

  • Geraldine Dening, architect, Architects for Social Housing
  • Simon Elmer, researcher-writer, Architects for Social Housing
  • Julika Gittner, architect and researcher, Architects for Social Housing
  • Leonie Weber, architectural assistant, Architects for Social Housing
  • Ben Corbett, architectural technician, Architects for Social Housing
  • Professor Murray Fraser, professor of architecture, Bartlett School of Architecture
  • Dr. Eva Branscombe, teaching fellow, Bartlett School of Architecture
  • Andreea Vasilcin, architectural assistant, Architectural Association
  • Tiffany Hoi Man Cheung, researcher, Architectural Association
  • Janusz Moore, architectural assistant, Leicester School of Architecture
  • Dr. Adriana Massidda, researcher, Leicester School of Architecture
  • Raha Farazmand, architect
  • Jack Sweet, architectural assistant
  • Sonia Theodosiadi, landscape architect
  • Joseph Asghar, filmmaker
  • Alessia Gammarota, photographer

Unable to attend the meeting the evening, but working with ASH on this project are:

  • Nick Jewell, architect and researcher, Bartlett School of Architecture
  • Gabu Heindl, architect and tutor, Architectural Association
  • Olande Onitiju, researcher, Leicester School of Architecture
  • Robert Wills, architectural assistant
  • Isabel Why, environmental designer, Model Environments

In addition, we had testimony about the South Kilburn estate redevelopment from:

  • Pete Firmin, Chair of the Alpha, Gorfield, and Canterbury Tenant and Resident Association

The slides published here were presented on the night. As we explained throughout our presentation, this information, which has not been made available to residents of St. Raphael’s estate by Brent council’s contractors, has been researched from the following sources:

  • Brent Council
  • Karakusevic Carson Architects (KCA)
  • Public Participation Consultation and Research (PPCR)
  • Deloitte financial services
  • Strutt & Parker estate agency
  • UK Government National Statistics
  • Government Building Standards Regulations
  • The Crime and Disorder Act 1998
  • The Housing Act 1988
  • The Equality Act 2010
  • The Housing and Planning Act 2016
  • Greater London Authority
  • Brent & Kilburn Times
  • Hackney Gazette
  • Architects’ Journal
  • The Guardian

At the meeting, the Chair of St. Raphael’s Voice — the resident/ leaseholder/stakeholder board appointed by the council to push through the demolition and redevelopment of the estate — and a resident employed by Karakusevic Carson Architects to record events, did their best to disrupt our presentation by accusing ASH of ‘scaremongering’ and inventing facts. Where applicable, therefore, we have provided a link to the source of the information under each slide, so that it can be corroborated, defended and used by residents, campaigners and all those who wish to see the best future for the 793 households living on St. Raphael’s estate.

ASH’s design work can be viewed here: Knight’s Walk, West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates, Central Hill estate and Northwold estate.

Karakusevic Carson Architects’s infill workshops can be viewed here. Brent council’s decision to reduce the ‘regeneration’ site from A, B and C to just A can be viewed here.

These reasons for demolishing the estate, presented to Cabinet in November 2019, are from Brent council’s report St. Raphael’s Estate – Housing Options Appraisal.

These maps are from the Government’s National Statistics on English Indices of Deprivation, 2015 and 2019. The figures on child poverty in London are from the Child Poverty Action Group.

The definition of anti-social behaviour is from the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. The re-routing of the 206 bus from St. Raphael’s estate can be read about here. The social rent levels for residents of St. Raphael’s estate are from the residents themselves. The increased rental costs for affordable housing are from the Greater London Authority, on London Affordable Rent, on London Living Rent. The dangers of shared ownership schemes can be read about here, here, here and here. Market rents in Brent can be viewed here.

The surveyor’s report on the condition of the housing stock on St. Raphael’s estate can be read here (paragraph 3.6). The map of the age of dwellings in the area around St. Raphael’s estate can be viewed here.

The Government’s Building Standards on the design-life of buildings can be viewed here. The financial viability assessment for Areas A, B and C of St. Raphael’s estate can be viewed here.

The council’s current estimation of compensation for leaseholders and freeholders can be viewed here (paragraph 5.8).

The estimated property prices on the redevelopment of St. Raphael’s estate are calculated based on the figures in Brent council’s financial viability assessment here (paragraph 5.9). The actual property prices for the redevelopment of South Kilburn estate are from the financial viability report by Deloitte, which has been removed from Brent council’s website, but which we have downloaded to our website and can be read via this link.

The buyer profiles for the South Kilburn estate redevelopment are from the development report by Strutt and Parker. This too has been removed from Brent council’s website, but can be read in Appendix 4 of Deloitte’s financial viability report.

The statistics on housing completion in London by tenure type are from the Mayor of London’s London Plan Annual Monitoring Report 15, 2017-18 (October 2019). The loss of homes for social rent and their replacement with affordable and market-sale housing can be read about here for the Heygate estate, for the Woodberry Down estate, and for the Colville estate. Brent council’s statement on segregated entrances and facilities on the South Kilburn estate redevelopment is from Deloitte’s financial viability report.

The segregated facilities on the Lillian Bayliss School redevelopment on the Ethelred estate can be read about here. The poor quality and dangerous conditions in the Bridport House redevelopment on the Colville estate designed by Karakusevic Carson Architects can be read about here and here. Like Brent council, Hackney council has removed all reference to these defects from its website.

The poor quality and dangerous conditions in the redevelopment of the South Kilburn estate can be read about here. The figures on carbon produced by the construction industry and the environmental damage caused by demolition can be read about here.

The London Mayor’s statement on climate change can be read here. Brent council’s declaration of a climate and ecological emergency can be read here. UK Architects declare climate and biodiversity emergency can be read here. The Architects’ Journal retrofit campaign can be read here. The Public Sector Equality Duty is in Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. This is Brent council’s (lack of a) Equality Analysis of the impact of demolishing and redeveloping St. Raphael’s estate.

This preliminary analysis of the housing on St. Raphael’s estate is by ASH. Our feasibility study report for West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates: New Homes and Improvements without Demolitions, was published in May 2016.

The current timeline for the resident ballot is from Brent council’s website page (Appendix A). The statement about the Council and Cabinet making the decision to go forward with the redevelopment option before the resident ballot is from an earlier timeline. Another timeline, dated August 2019, states that before the resident ballot: ‘Depending on community preference this period will either focus on preparing for ballot or starting developing more detailed designs for infill.’ Taken from the website of Karakusevic Carson Architects, this timeline can be viewed via this link.

The contract values for the consultancies employed by Brent council were provided in response to a Freedom of Information request. The Cabinet decision in December 2019 to commit an additional £300,000 to the budget can be viewed here (paragraph 2.7). The statement about ASH by PPCR was sent to residents of St. Raphael’s estate by Asif Zamir, the Chair of St. Raphael’s Voice. The facts about ASH’s work on Central Hill, including the two-dozen endorsements it received from politicians, architects, senior academics, housing lawyers and campaigners opposing estate demolition, can be read in our report, Central Hill: A Case Study in Estate Regeneration.

The resident ballot for phase 4 of the demolition and redevelopment of the South Kilburn estate in Brent, and the details of the landlord offer to residents, is from South Kilburn Landlord Offer: Our promise to you, published in autumn/summer 2019. The facts contradicting these promises are from the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Part 4, Chapter 6. Secure tenancies, etc), the Housing Act 1988 (Section 35), the London Mayor’s figures on London Affordable Rent, and from testimony by residents on the earlier phases of the South Kilburn estate redevelopment in the Brent and Kilburn Times (16 May, 2019).

The footage of residents on the Colville estate redevelopment produced by Karakusevic Carson Architects is from the Brent council webpage. The footage from the BBC report on the Colville estate was recorded by a resident, and can be viewed here. The difference in access to green space for residents on St. Raphael’s estate compared to the average resident in Brent was calculated by us.

At the end of the meeting we held a vote on whether residents wanted ASH to go ahead with our proposal. The Chair of St. Raphael’s Voice and the resident filmmaker tried to disrupt the vote with shouting and accusations. Despite this, all the other residents in the room voted unanimously ‘Yes’ (below).

Given this mass of documentation for everything we presented to residents at this meeting, it can be seen that it not ASH that is lying to residents; it is Brent council and its paid consultants that are deliberately withholding this information from them. Until this factual information about the consequences of redevelopment, as well as the alternative to demolition ASH is designing, is made available to the residents, any ballot vote on the future of St. Raphael’s estate is invalid, and can only be regarded as a product of the estimated £1 million Brent council is spending to convince residents to vote for the demolition of their own homes. To counter the enormous resources Brent council is employing to buy a vote for redevelopment, please help to share this information with as many residents as possible before the ballot in October 2019.

At the request of the residents after the meeting, we are publishing these slides as soon as possible; but we will publish further documentation of the meeting as it is made available. If you would like to read more about ASH’s advisory work with the residents’ campaign to save St. Raphael’s estate from demolition, please read our article The Campaign for St. Raphael’s Estate: Fighting a Social and Environmental Disaster. And if you would like to get involved with helping the campaign fight this disaster, please write to us at: info@architectsforsocialhousing.co.uk.

Architects for Social Housing

P.S. Below is footage of the first hour of ASH’s presentation.

P.P.S. Below is footage of Pete Firmin, Chair of the Alpha, Garfield and Canterbury Tenants and Residents Association, talking about the difference between what Brent council promised residents on the South Kilburn estate before the ballot, and what they delivered after residents had voted for redevelopment.

P.P.P.S.

In response to a meeting with residents, who asked us whether they would have secure tenancies on the new development, we clarified that — for the residents offered the tenancies for London Affordable Rent, and who are able to afford the 60 per cent increase in their rent and the ongoing increase in service charges — the new tenancies would be with a housing association (either an existing company such as Network Homes or a new, council-owned company) and these would therefore at best be assured tenancies (misleadingly called ‘lifetime’ tenancies). However, following the Localism Act 2011 and the Regulatory framework for housing published in 2015, even an assured tenancy is no longer guaranteed, and housing associations are now free to offer tenants fixed-term tenancies of no more than a few years.

The statements by Brent council on their private development partners can be read in the report titled St. Raphael’s Estate – Housing Options Appraisal (paragraphs 5.4 and 5.16-5.19). The legislation on assured tenancies can be viewed in the Housing Act 1985 (section 35). The legislation on housing associations being able to offer fixed-term tenancies can be read in the House of Commons Library summary of the legislation on ‘Social Housing: flexible and fixed term tenancies’. The figures on the number of homes for social rent lost to demolition and conversion by housing associations is from the Chartered Institute of Housing.

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