Residents on a Stoke Newington estate have called out their housing association over a “lack of trust” brought on by issues surrounding cleaning, flytipping, and lift and general repairs.
The accusations from residents of the Kennaway Estate came during a Town Hall debate which saw the approval of Southern Housing Group’s plans to demolish Kennaway’s Taverner House, replacing it with a three-storey terrace of houses as well as a between five and seven storey block.
The scheme once completed will make up 61 new homes, of which 37 will be offered as a mixture of social and intermediately rented homes, with the rest being for private sale.
Cllr Sophie Cameron (Lab, Clissold), said: “It’s important to note that although to note that although Southern Housing manage a number of very well-run estates in Hackney, the Kennaway Estate has been seriously mismanaged in recent years.
“This has sadly resulted in a lack of trust towards the housing association.
“Several residents from Sandale Close have experienced significant problems with repairs in their buildings, waiting an unacceptably long time for these problems to be resolved.”
Residents from Garland House, another of Kennaway’s blocks, told councillors that their lift had been out of order for five months, with occupants in their eighties unable to get out of the building easily.
Kennaway residents added: “Confidence in Southern Housing has been affected. They have said that the community had been informed about initial plans for an eleven-storey block, and that this was reduced to seven storeys as a result of community feedback.
“In fact, residents were only ever presented with the plan which included the seven-storey block, which has been opposed by us right from the beginning on the grounds of height.”
The new up-to-seven-storey block has also caused concern due to its appearance, with councillors and residents warning that it will detract both from views of the Grade II* listed St Mary’s Church, as well as from views from Clissold Park, though council officers insisted the new buildings’ impacts would be “neutral”.
According to council documents, Southern have no plans to redevelop the remainder of Kennaway, or to use the receipts from the redevelopment of Taverner House to re-invest in housing stock elsewhere.
Existing social housing tenants in buildings to be demolished will all be offered the right to return by Southern, though questions were asked of the housing association at the meeting as to why all the private homes for sale to fund the plans were to be built in a separate block from the rented homes.
A Southern representative present at the meeting replied that the separation was part of the group’s efforts to “maximise the value” of the private sale homes.
A representative of Southern said: “Obviously it is disappointing to hear about the lack of trust, and the issues that residents have with Southern.
“We have worked hard during the course of the application, running a twelve-month consultation period, meeting with residents and holding design workshops, doorknocking and one-to-one consultation.
“Obviously we are aware of issues on the estate, and the regen team took a proactive approach to working with residents. I think we have built some trust back with residents, in terms of them having direct contact with those doing the maintenance now.
“We will work closely and proactively with them going forward.”