Homeowners fear being driven out of Gospel Oak by Camden Council’s regeneration plans

Digger at the Bacton Low Rise estate in Gospel Oak

Digger at the Bacton Low Rise estate in Gospel Oak - Credit: Vanessa Berberian

Leaseholders rooted in the Gospel Oak community are appealing to Camden Council to help them stay in the area – so they do not have to “start again” somewhere else if their homes are bulldozed and rebuilt.

Camden Council has a long-term plan to rebuild more than 1,500 flats in the area over the next 15 years, starting with the Bacton Low Rise estate redevelopment, which was approved by the cabinet in March and will see 99 homes demolished to make way for 290 new properties.

Tenants have been told they can move back into like-for-like properties when the new blocks are complete – but leaseholders have no such guarantees and some fear being driven out of the area for good.

Conservative group leader Cllr Claire-Louise Leyland, who raised the issue at last week’s cabinet meeting, said: “They’re as much a part of the community and they are worried about how they are going to stay in the area. They will probably not be able to afford to buy a flat in the new buildings.”

The council plans to “regenerate” most of Gospel Oak’s estates one by one in the coming years.

While council tenants will be re-homed as works are carried out with the option of returning, leaseholders will simply be offered a lump sum for their flats, based on market rate plus an extra 10 per cent.

Yet this could leave them short if they want to buy back into the new-builds in the same area.

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“I think there is likely to be quite a discrepancy between what their flats are worth and what the new ones will be worth,” added Cllr Leyland.

Shafeeq Siddiqui, 70, who represents leaseholders of the Ludham and Waxham blocks, off Mansfield Road, said: “Someone in a three-bed might be offered £350,000 by the council, but the new flats might be between £450,000 and £500,000. They will be unable to buy into the new build.

“The only option would be to sell out and start afresh. Your whole life gets changed, you have to start all over again.”

Mr Siddiqui believes leaseholders should be offered like-for-like flats in the rebuilt estates, just like tenants, while Cllr Leyland has called for a shared ownership scheme to help bridge the gap.

Minicab driver Dorian Courtesi, 45, a tenant of Barrington Court and chairman of its tenants and residents association, said: “We don’t want to push out people like Shafeeq, who are involved and active in the community and have lived here for many years.”