The neverending battle for Holly Lodge

DON’T think the debate over what will become of the Holly Lodge Estate in Highgate is over. Labour in Camden now admits it may have to sell off some of the bedsits to pay for refurbishment. Opponents say: Waydaminute, you promised not to sell any council flats at all – in fact you made an election dealbreaker out of it.

This issue may not have exploded into a full blown spat across the pages of local newspapers and council meetings in the last fortnight – blame summer. But this one still hangs on a short fuse. When politicians and newspaper readers come back from their holi-holidays and staycations, a full and no doubt feisty discussion is inevitable.

In the meantime, bedsits on what could be the most beautiful estate in London remain rotting, a portion left empty for years by councils of different political shades unable to pledge the investment needed to repair them. The lack of progress on the estate is so acute, the old council might as well have let stay the friendly neighbourhood squatters who once tended the gardens and smiled at the old folk living next door. As this old news footage shows – we know it’s old because it’s blotchy and Anna Maria Ashe is reading the cue for London Tonight – the residents just want the abandoned flats to go to waste no longer. They want their estate to tick as it was always intended.

2 Comments on The neverending battle for Holly Lodge

  1. Theo Blackwell // August 17, 2010 at 3:09 pm //

    The manifesto commitment was to end the sale of homes by auction to private speculators, a point reported on by the CNJ in May 2010 (as revealed by you good selves in previous months). The point being that this was depleting the number of homes (the money was going to repairs homes, not finance new ones), so this did nothing to the waiting list. Our flats were being ‘flipped’ because of a specific policy by the Tories and Lib Dems. This was deeply unpopular and not value for money so had to end.

    This is entirely different to ‘estate regeneration’, where in order to finance the building or replacing of homes the council enters into a partnership with a housing association or the private sector (as in all other areas of London) over the redevelopment of the land.

    The Lib Dems understood this because they identified the end to the ‘flipping’ policy as creating a gap of around £60-£70 million (the money the council would’ve received from the sale of flats at auction), not the entire sum of all estate regenerations. Mischieviously they are now confusing the two.

    • Keith Sedgwick // August 25, 2010 at 12:33 am //

      So, let me get this right Theo, it’s OK to sell council homes as long as the people we sell them to don’t sell them on straight away?

      In our last year in power 288 new homes were made available to familes on Camden’s waiting list, not to mention the 101 we took back from illegal subletters which will again go to new council tenants. As far as I remember, we sold off 102 of the worst conditioned properties in four years, compare to the 5,000 you sold off in the previous eight years. Although in our case we got 100% of the receipts whereas you who got only 25% of the cash.

      The fact that you are taking 205 homes on Holly Lodge estate, reducing them down to 50 homes and are then going to sell half of them off, isn’t exactly going to help people on the waiting list, is it?

      The £70m gap you mention, was identified by Council officers as arising from your decision to cease selling council homes and nothing to do with stopping ‘flipping’. You obviously were so busy running aroung getting your title changed from Resources Executive to Finance Executive, as the first official business of the Leader of the Council, that you never got round to reading the relevant report. I take it that Council tabled reports are official records of decisions made by you and your colleagues and not the dellusional fabrication you’ve just presented?

      Congratulations Theo, in your first ten weeks of power you’ve broken your key election promise and you’ve single-handedly increased the Decent Homes funding gap from £100m to £170m. Thank goodness us Conservatives weren’t ever as clever as you Labour lot are or we’d have been REALLY stupid!

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