Author: Dr Neil Mason
The Ganley Court homeowners on the Winstanley Estate are fighting the proposed plans to demolish their homes as part of a regeneration masterplan.
They support the wider regeneration of the estate but completely reject this masterplan in its current form. The residents feel the proposed demolition of their low rise family homes to facilitate the building of a neighbourhood of dense skyscrapers is simply unacceptable. They are dismayed and distraught at the horrendous offer to be rehoused in new tower blocks on a shared equity basis.
This regeneration project is making a mockery of planning rules. The plans are changing and misleading at every stage and the buildings are getting higher, e.g. the latest addition of housing on top of the community centre, library and leisure centre with several 20-25 towers along the park.
Ganley Court is a mixture of freehold, leasehold and council run properties. The homeowners have well maintained family houses with 3 to 4 bedrooms. The properties are in an enviable location being a short walk to Clapham Junction station and some overlook a park.
The strong Ganley Court community feel that consultation and feedback sessions have so far been completely inadequate. The main consultation on which the London Borough of Wandsworth seems to rely on is the ballot which was carried out between October and November 2013. The consultation simply asked residents to rank several options about how much change they wanted to see on the estate. It did not provide detail, show clear plans and certainly did not discuss the demolition of homes at Ganley Court.
Ganley Court resident Clara Barbossa, aged 50 explains:
“I have been in my house for over 10 years. I have raised 2 children in this house which they still call home. I love my home because I have spent a lot of time making it nice. I was very distraught when the council said that they would be demolishing my house to make way for this regeneration. They say they want more affordable housing but where does that leave me? I bought my affordable house and would not be in a position to buy another family house in the borough with the money the council is offering. I am so stressed I am struggling to sleep.”
Last year, residents were shown various sketches highlighting possible locations for new family houses facing the new York Gardens Park. They were also given a booklet showing examples of the style of houses that could be built for them. However, the latest plans released by Taylor Wimpey show no provision of houses as previously offered. The Ganley Court homeowners understandably feel upset.
Mario Lanni, aged 76 says:
“I feel ignored, insulted, let-down and betrayed by Wandsworth Council. First they want to demolish my beautiful home. Then they offer to rehouse me. A like-for- like new house but with a shared equity. I own 100% of my house at the moment. I do not need a new house. Now their developing partner comes in and they are no longer talking about a house. They want to reshouse me in a tower block.”
This masterplan seems to be an excuse for a developer to make an obscene amount of profit at the misery and expense of others. It is a land grab of privately owned land to build expensive dense skyscrapers.