Illegal sale of Co-op Housing to developers – discuss

by More Street Cleaning and less Social Cleansing, please

Last week, outside the West Indian Ex-Serviceman’s Club in Clapham Manor Street, after a Labour Party meeting that had been demo’d, an honourable Shortlife refusnik got into conversation with Nigel Haselden, a Clapham Town Ward councilor.

Two things came out of this (well, two things until she remembers what else they talked about) –

1.  Nigel said that he’d seen planning applications submitted for the Clapham Community houses (on North Street, SW4) that had been sold and were being developed. He said he thought that, because of details in the planning applications, most (possibly all) of the terrace had been bought by a single developer/group…

Hmmm, this looks like it might be illegal, Nigel…what are you doing about it?

Read Lambeth council’s (rather boring, sorry) report on Shortlife Housing, dated 25 July 2011, here are the relevant sections –

(Just before you start ploughing through, I apologise for having to include this part at all… if I hadn’t been writing this myself, I’d skip it, though I think having written it out has helped me understand it a bit better)

Point 4.5 says:

The Secretary of State issued general consents in 2005.

Point 4.6 says:

These general consents cover disposals to both individuals and Registered Social Landlords (RSLs). Where a disposal does not fit within one of the general consents, specific consent may be required.

Point 4.7 says:

General consent A.3.1 permits the disposal of a vacant dwelling house to an individual, who intends to use it as his only or principle home, for a consideration equal to it’s market value.

Point 4.8 says:

General consent A3.2 permits the disposal of a vacant dwelling house to any person for a consideration equal to it’s market value, where the dwelling house is in need of substantial works of repair, improvement or conversion and that person enters into a covenant to carry out those works and then to dispose of the dwelling house or any dwelling house created from it to an individual who intends to use it or any dwelling house created from it as his only or principle home.

Point 4.9 says:

General consent 5.1.1 permits the disposal of one vacant house or vacant flat or vacant converted house to any individual for a consideration equal to it’s market value, provided that the purchaser (alone or with others) has not, under the consent (A5.1.1) acquired another dwelling house from the Council previously in the same year.

So, have I understood this correctly?

  • An individual or a group can only buy one property within a financial year.
  • A property is to be used as a purchaser’s only, or principle, home.

Therefore, no buying of multiple properties, and no renting out? Not unless specific consents have been granted, anyhow.

Many of us are aware of properties being rented out very soon after purchase, and we suspect that more than one house has been bought by an individual or consortium of individuals. This seems to be illegal. We have repeatedly referred to properties being rented out, and multiple purchases by individuals, in correspondence with Lambeth council but the matter has been completely ignored.

Is Lambeth council willfully complicit in the illegal sale of properties to developers?

and here’s the second thing that came out of the conversation –

2.  Nigel was waxing lyrical about how he’d had a poignant experience a few days earlier… he’d watched one of the Rectory Gardens community walking from the bright light of Larkhall Rise, into the dark of the Gardens, and he said how he’d thought, with sadness, that that wouldn’t happen for much longer, the community would be broken up, the homes sold and the houses developed.

Haselden, when it was suggested that he should support the Shortlife communities then, was visibly taken aback that anyone could propose he act against Party policy. He said that supporting Party policy was more important than any thoughts or beliefs that he had personally…

Be warned, whatever Nigel Haselden says means nothing, unless it agrees with policy. That explains the initial support he gave the Co-ops, then the stab in the back he delivered when he voted in support of the eviction of Co-op residents and the sale of our homes.

The eviction of low-waged, co-operative communities in Lambeth, is OFFICIAL Lambeth Labour policy