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Clarion House Social Housing for Grenfell Fire Residents

Politics / Social Issues Jul 14, 2017 - 11:51 AM GMT

By: Submissions

Politics

BWTUC CALLS ON CLARION HOUSING (Formerly Affinity Sutton) TO BRING BACK INTO USE 159 SOCIAL HOUSING UNITS IN CHELSEA LYING EMPTY AND OFFER THEM AS HOMES FOR GRENFELL TOWER FIRE RESIDENTS

If Kensington and Chelsea Council won't use its powers to force action on this it should be ordered to bring back into commission these flats that the Sutton Trust/Affinity Sutton itself vandalised in 2015 after decanting the residents says BWTUC


The July meeting of Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union Council agreed to call on the public authorities and the Sutton Trust/Affinity Sutton to re-commission the 159 units of social housing on the Sutton Estate in Chelsea now lying idle together with the many other flats which are being left empty and to offer them as temporary housing to the homeless Grenfell Tower fire residents.

The residents of these 159 units were decanted in October 2015 by the Sutton Trust/Affinity Sutton in advance of an application to Kensington and Chelsea Council for planning permission to demolish and redevelop parts of the estate. This was turned down in November 2016. (See notes to editors for copy of the GMB press releases on the issue.)

Since then, many other homes and sheltered housing units on the estate have been left empty after residents died or moved out, rather than offer them as homes to London families.

One of the residents decanted from accommodation now lying empty was rehoused in Grenfell Tower and lost her five year old son in the fire.

The Sutton Trust/Affinity Sutton applied to Kensington and Chelsea council in October 2015 to demolish 462 flats and replace them with 316, a net loss of 146 social units. GMB, who represent lower paid workers in local government and the NHS, objected on the grounds of this significant loss of Social Housing, a 31.6% reduction in social housing units for the next generation. The application was rejected in December 2016 but the Sutton Trust/Affinity Sutton has given notice of plans to appeal against the rejection. (See notes to editors for GMB press releases on the proposed redevelopment and GMB objections to to the council.

Seamus MacBride, President of BWTUC, said,

"It is a scandal that the Sutton Trust’s successor body is not only not accepting the rejection of the application to reduce the number of social dwellings in the area but has presided over the leaving of valuable social housing units vacant for nearly two years now.

"Kensington and Chelsea Council has the powers to force Sutton Trust to re-commission these 159 flats and it should use those powers. A crash programme of work should be undertaken without delay. The refurbished units could be offered to the Grenfell Tower fire victims as temporary accommodation.

"If Kensington and Chelsea Council won't move on this they should be forced to bring back into commission the flats that the Sutton Trust/Affinity Sutton itself broke up after decanting the residents in 2015"

Ian Henderson, chair of the residents’ association at the Sutton Trust Estate in Chelsea, said,

"On top of the 159 flats that have been emptied, there are flats throughout the estate which are deliberately being left empty including sheltered housing. Clarion in their attempt to demolish the estate to be replaced by multi-million pound flats, will be destroying a community, and complicit in the social cleansing of the area.

"We call upon the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to serve Affinity Sutton with a Section 215 notice (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/11491/319798.pdf) to force Affinity Sutton to bring these homes back into use for the residents of Grenfell Tower.

"Or the Council should consider make a Compulsory Purchase order so that blocks A to D can be brought back into use for Social Housing as was their intended purpose in the will of William Sutton.

"RBKC have again failed to meet the needs of homeless families from Grenfell Tower, 158 of whom are still living in temporary housing . We call upon the Cabinet of RBKC to stand down and be replaced by Commissioners. The continual failure of the Council is endemic of their attitude to social housing tenants across the Borough , this attitude is continuing and needs to stop today ."

GMB

GMB London Region, John Cope House, 152 Brent Street, LONDON NW4 2DP 


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