Couple's anger over estate plan which would see their home knocked down
- Credit: James Messer/Google
A Gospel Oak couple fear regeneration plans could force them out of Camden.
James Messer, who lives in the Wendling Estate with his wife, told this newspaper that being forced to sell their home - if the result of a regeneration ballot set to close sees plans approved - would see them struggle to stay in the area.
They would be offered the chance to buy a home on the revamped estate, but there is no guarantee of when that would be possible.
Camden's plans for the estate - along with St Stephen's Close - would see 194 council homes and 47 privately-owned homes replaced with at least 650 new properties.
James - who cannot vote in the ballot as his mother-in-law's name is on the leasehold rather than that of either he or his wife - said: "It seems to me it'll be a 'yes' and they'll be knocking the building down."
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He added: "If we wanted to stay on the estate, we just wouldn't have the money."
The town hall said where a home on the redeveloped estate is more expensive than a leaseholder's previous home, residents can purchase a proportion of the equity and Camden would retain the remainder. The town hall said this would not involve paying rent on the equity held by Camden.
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James said shared ownership is not an option, particularly as they would have to find somewhere to live in the meantime.
Cllr Danny Beales, Camden's planning chief, said: “Over the past two years we have been working in close partnership with Wendling and St Stephen’s Close residents to carefully develop and tailor the plans for their estate in order to deliver the fit-for-purpose, modern homes that they have told us are desperately needed.
"We will only proceed with redevelopment of the estate if residents support this at a ballot."
He said all council tenants would receive new homes, while the town hall is "committed" to supporting leaseholders to stay local.
In 2020, a group of residents passed a "vote of no confidence" in Cllr Beales over the plans, but ward councillor Marcus Boyland told this newspaper that was a "vocal minority".
Cllr Beales added: "We offer an excellent and fair package of support. There are a range of financial options suited to each individual’s circumstances. If leaseholders wish to sell their home to the Council, we will pay full market value plus 10%."