Tell us why our estate should face the bulldozer just 25 years after it was built

One Housing has already lost one ballot of residents over its hopes to redevelop its site

Thursday, 28th July — By Dan Carrier

camden28 Image 2022-07-28 at 9.19.02 PM (2)

Eleonora Andronaco says there is no security for tenants paying intermediate rent

A HOUSING association hoping to demolish a Chalk Farm estate and replace low rise homes with a cluster of 12 storey high rise blocks stand accused of putting profits before people.

One Housing, who own Juniper Crescent and Gilbeys Yard, are asking tenants for views on a redevelopment scheme which would lead to the bulldozing of their architecturally-lauded homes – just 25 years after they were built.

Tenants say One Housing is withholding vital information about the project and is instead focussing on promoting plans with what they describe as ‘hard sell’ tactics.

These include glossy brochures, weekly events with free food and drink, and promises that no home will be any smaller – but tenants say questions remain over specific design details, terms being offered to move out and return, and the length of time the project will take.

Designs drawn up by architects PRP show a collection of tower blocks, including four described as ’12-plus’ storeys in height, another cluster of five blocks which will be 10 or more storeys. Another eight will range from between six and 10 storeys.

How the estate would look if One Housing are allowed to demolish and rebuild

Tenant Eleonora Andronaco pays an intermediate rent – 80 per cent of the market rate – and said she and others on the same terms had been pushed to one side.

She told the New Journal: “Their preferred mode of engagement is one-to- one, but we need to engage as a community. Households are being promised things individually but not together.

“It feels like divide and conquer. We do not have a residents’ steering group, or an independent tenants’ advocate. These things are essential to make sure there is a decent level of scrutiny.

“They are selling it as creating more social housing, but the details are so vague. They have’t told us how many social homes they plan – and how many will be built to be sold off privately.
“We do not oppose change. We do oppose being kept completely in the dark.”

One Housing aim to hold a new ballot in the autumn. A previous poll, held in July 2020, saw a clear majority dismiss proposals.

Ms Andronaco added: “Juniper Crescent was built in 1996 and won awards. The only thing needed is repairs. These are well designed houses on a nice estate. They are just not looked after.”
Intermediate renters fear they will be forced out and have no right to vote in any ballot.

Ms Andronaco said: “They say we have the right to return but have refused to give us any financial conditions. That makes any promise null and void.

“We have no idea if what they call an ‘affordable’ property would be affordable to us. There has been no word on security of tenure.”

A new look for Juniper Crescent has been proposed

Intermediate renters have seen their contracts change from yearly, renewable tenancies to rolling one month deals.

This was done, tenants say, without warning and means they can be evicted at short notice.

One intermediate renter, who did not want to named, said at least 17 households were on the same terms.

The tenant added: “This rings alarm bells. They see us as cash cows. We pay the most rent but they can get rid of us quickly. We are disposable.”

A spokesman for One Housing said: “Throughout 2021 we engaged with residents of Juniper Crescent and Gilbeys Yard to understand their views on regeneration. In November 2021, directed by feedback, we separated the estates and carry out individual approaches to consultation. We have been available on a weekly basis, speaking to residents.”

He added: “On July 16 we launched a masterplan and offer for Juniper Crescent. Throughout July and August we will be discussing changes with residents. Additionally, One Housing is carrying out our programme of community spirit to ensure good relations.”

Related Articles