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.
Vision Homes (Lambeth) Ltd have no track record of running social housing and have been, according to Lambeth Housing Cabinet Member Cllr Maria Kay, “unclear” about how they will fund a list of expensive promises to residents.
Cllr Kay also expressed concerns that if there was a “yes” vote in the ballot, the ownership of homes could be passed by Vision Homes to another owner, without the consent of residents. She also confirmed that leaseholders are excluded by national legislation from taking part in the ballot.
Local councillors have urged council tenants on the Lothian estate area (formerly the PACCA TMO area) to reject proposals from a for-profit company to take control of their homes.
The Greater London Authority (GLA) has approved an application by PACCA TMO Limited and Vision Homes (Lambeth) Ltd, a for-profit company, to conduct a ballot on the future ownership of the council properties on the Lothian Estate area. If they are successful in the ballot, the homes will be transferred out of the control of the local council and will be run by Vision Homes.
In a letter to council tenants, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Maria Kay, laid out the reasons why residents should be concerned about these proposals and vote no in the upcoming ballot: you can read her letter in full here.
Myatt’s Fields councillors Annie Gallop and Paul Gadsby have backed Cllr Kay’s comments, saying:
“These proposals have already caused a great deal of alarm in the community: we have received numerous communications from residents who are deeply concerned about how this has happened
“If successful, it will be the first time anywhere in the country where a for-profit company has taken control of council homes in this way. Vision Homes (Lambeth) Limited are a “for profit” company with no track record in owning or managing social housing. They will be able to charge residents more for their services and could pass on control of the housing, and the land on which it sits, to another organisation without a ballot.
“Although only council tenants are able to vote in this ballot, leaseholders in the area will have their lease transferred to the for-profit private company in the event of a “yes” vote”. We do think it is very unfair that leaseholders are unable to vote owing to the rules laid down by very badly drawn-up national legislation.
“We urge residents to make sure they vote No, in this important ballot: its outcome will have an impact on the daily lives of everyone in the Lothian estate area.”
A date for the ballot has yet to be set, but is likely to be in the next few months. Council tenant and leaseholder properties affected by these proposals are on the following streets:
Lothian Road (Dalkeith House, Silverburn House and Bathgate House)
If you worried or confused about this proposed takeover and want to know more, you can contact your local councillors Paul and Annie here – and give us your views on the proposals here.