London Assembly Members have condemned a recent decision by the Crown Estate Board to sell four London housing estates providing key worker accommodation to the Peabody Trust.
The sale of the Cumberland Market, Victoria Park, Millbank and Lee Green Estates is opposed by local residents who have expressed concerns about the future of their homes.
Crown Estate Chairman Sir Stuart Hampson has previously said conditions on the sale imposed by the Board “would result in security for current tenants and a permanent commitment for key worker housing in the future”.
In a unanimously agreed motion, AMs last week expressed concern that the board “is making a grave error of judgement in proceeding with the sale, both for London and for its own long term finances.”
The Assembly also called on Mayor of London Boris Johnson to intervene and “oppose the Board’s decision.”
The sale, which is currently the subject of consultation, was previously discussed by the Mayor and AMs at June’s Mayor’s Question Time where there was unanimous, cross-party condemnation of the plan.
The motion was proposed by Andrew Boff AM who said: “Until the beginning of this year the Crown Estate had been an exemplary landlord providing high quality, well maintained accommodation for many vital workers in London and residents are rightly mystified about the Board’s decision to hive them off.”
Mr Boff said the Peabody Trust “has a good track record as a social landlord [but] we need assurances from them that there will be no long term reduction in key worker housing provision as a result of this sale.”
Murad Qureshi AM, who seconded the motion, accused the Crown Estate of “behaving like a feudal landlord with little respect for its tenants or responsibilities” and said the board’s actions gave the impression “that it believes managing residential estates occupied by hard working Londoners is beneath them.”
The full text of the motion reads as follows:
“The Assembly deplores the recent decision of the Crown Estate Board to agree to a sale of its four housing estates in Cumberland Market, Victoria Park, Millbank and Lee Green. The Assembly notes that this sale has been vigorously opposed by local residents, with the support of the Mayor of London and local councillors, Assembly Members and MPs from all main political parties.
The Assembly is deeply concerned regarding the consequences of such a sale for current residents and for the future provision of key worker housing in London, and has been dissatisfied with assurances given by the Board to date. The Assembly further deplores the Board’s secretive approach to this sale and the lack of openness, transparency and information that has been provided.
The Assembly strongly feels that the Crown Estate Board is making a grave error of judgement in proceeding with the sale, both for London and for its own long term finances. The Assembly therefore urges the Crown Estate Board to urgently reconsider its decision and requests that the Mayor intervenes to oppose the Board’s decision”