Myatt’s Fields councillors have organised two drop-in events this week for residents on the Lothian estate who want to discuss the threatened “stock transfer” of local council homes to a for profit, private company.
Controversial plans by a private for-profit company to take control of a housing estate in Myatt’s Fields have been condemned by Lambeth council’s housing chief.
Rents are likely to rise if Vision Homes, a for-profit company, succeeds in taking over properties on the Lothian estate, according to Cllr Maria Kay, Lambeth’s cabinet member responsible for homelessness and better homes.
In a strongly-worded letter to residents, Cllr Kay says says people who live in the area risk higher rents and service charges if they vote to accept the proposal from Vision Homes which, she claims, has no registered employees and no track record of managing properties.
Vision Homes, working alongside Pacca TMO, which used to run the estate, intends to ballot residents on the proposal in the near future — although no date for the vote has been revealed by the company.
In her letter, Cllr Kay, who has been talking to residents alongside local Councillors Annie Gallop and Paul Gadsby, said Vision Homes has “no registered employees and no track record in owning, developing, or even managing social housing.
“The proposals from Vision Homes could mean you pay more: from your rents and service charges to the repairs and maintenance activities to your homes, as Vision Homes would charge VAT on top of these costs,” she said. “If Vision Homes were to also sell your homes to another company in the future, they will not be required to ballot or obtain consent from the Housing Regulator.”
“It is unclear to me how they will fund the promises they are making to you and your neighbours. Vision Homes’ plans don’t add up, and they do not make financial sense.”
Myatt’s Fields is to get a share of a multi-million pound investment by Lambeth Borough Council aimed at boosting sustainable travel across our communities.
Called ‘The Big Shift’, it follows a campaign by councillors Annie Gallop and Paul Gadsby calling for action to address serious traffic-related issues, including rat-running and heavy congestion. The councillors welcomed the move and thanked the authority for taking notice of the many residents who supported their campaign.
Launching the new funding programme, Lambeth Council said:
“The climate crisis and the rising cost of living pose very real threats to the livelihoods of people who live and work in Lambeth today. If we are to meet those challenges head on and create a more equal borough for all of us, we all need to make changes in our lives – including in how we travel around Lambeth. That’s why we have launched The Big Shift – a £17.7 million investment which brings life to Lambeth Labour’s ambitious plan to cut air pollution, reduce road danger, support access and mobility, and help people choose public transport, walking, cycling, and scooting more often.
“Over the coming months we will announce new school streets, more protected cycle lanes, a huge increase in bike storage for residents, more electric vehicle charging points, community grants for local greening projects, investment into micromobility hubs, parklets and new walking routes, and seven new Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes. We are also supporting local businesses to make the transition to making deliveries by e-cargo bike, in partnership with Peddle My Wheels.”
Myatt’s Fields is one of the target areas that will receive part of the investment: this followed a campaign by Cllrs Paul Gadsby and Annie Gallop which highlighted a variety of traffic problems in the community, including congestion on Loughborough Road, speeding around Myatt’s Fields Park and rat running along Patmos and Akerman Roads. Recently, councillors handed in a survey of more than 200 residents about these issues and organised a walkabout in the area for Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Lambeth and Clean Air, to see first-hand some of the worst hotspots and meet local residents. Lambeth Council’s research has identified parts of our ward as suffering from the worst traffic related problems in Lambeth.
Cllr Paul Gadsby and Cllr Annie Gallop said:
“It is really positive news to see that Lambeth has acknowledged the problems on our local roads: we are particularly grateful to Cllr Chowdhury for listening to residents who contributed to our recent surveys and for visiting Myatt’s Fields to meet residents who have to live with dangerous driving or heavy congestion on a daily basis.
“Lambeth Council has given us a pledge to work with local residents to find how best to use the new funding, with discussions beginning in the next financial year.”
More information about the “Big Shift” can be found here.