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    Categories Holland Estate

Holland – residents speak out!

Our social landlord is threatening to demolish our homes and destroy our community — we need your help!

Our estate is managed by Eastend Homes (EEH), a registered provider of social housing whose mission is to “provide a local housing service which meets the needs of all residents”.

EEH, without any resident consultation at all to date, has a clear intention to demolish our estate. Since serving a demolition notice in March 2014 they have ploughed on with their plans and feasibility studies despite the fact that the Estate Management Board opposed the option to demolish by a majority vote in December 2014, and the fact that the majority of estate residents are strongly against demolition, as recorded in a petition signed by 66% of residents. EEH are supposed to be a social landlord, with a duty to serve residents and the community, but their demolition plans instead threaten to destroy our homes and community.

Our homes are well built and of solid construction, just in need of repairs and refurbishment. Our strong and vibrant community cuts across ethnic, cultural, faith, age and class boundaries. What gives EEH the right to destroy all this? Why would EEH want to destroy all this?

Our Demands

We the residents of Holland Estate want Eastend Homes to

  • Refurbish our estate and carry out all the qualifying works as stated in the development agreement of the original transfer of Holland Estate to Eastend Homes from Tower Hamlets Council on 13 November 2006.
  • Properly manage and maintain our estate going forward with no more excuses for letting the housing stock fall into disrepair.
  • Stop the Redevelopment Feasibility Study immediately as the overwhelming majority of residents and the Holland Estate Board oppose demolition.
  • Allow residents a proper voice in what happens to their estate by holding resident referendums on such important matters as potential demolition.

Background

In 2006 EEH took on the freehold and management of our estate from tower Hamlets Council under a stock transfer agreement. We believe that the EEH have not met their responsibilities under the terms and spirit of this agreement as outlined in the 34 clauses ofthe main documents which they signed back in 2006.

”Housing Choice scheme and ’DecentHomes’standard: Phase 1: Internal improvements to be completed by 2010. Phase 2: estate-wide external renovation and improvement works be completed 2012.”

EEH have flouted the promise to make improvements to the Holland Estate, particularly in relation to the Phase 2 external renovation. Despite this blatant disregard, the company has a clear intention to now demolish our homes, with the argument that the buildings are now unfit for purpose. Since demolition is opposed by the majority of residents, we are left asking what purpose it could serve.

Are EEH, at the expense of its residents, merely taking advantage of an opportunity to generate a substantial profit due to escalating land values in the area?

We fully oppose and will fight against this. EEH is behaving as a commercial and not social landlord. There was no consultation whatsoever before being given the notice of intention to demolish. There is no guarantee that residents — both tenants and leaseholders — will be able to remain in their home and community after redevelopment.

Do you think that it is the right approach by East End Homes to deal with our housing stock and the local residents in such irresponsible way? Their demolition plans are clearly not aimed at creating more social housing — as is their responsibility as RSL and as stated in the stock transfer document. Instead, these plans will result in the break up of a strong multi cultural and generational community and their homes. This from a company with a long track record of being unreliable, untrustworthy and non—transparent.

For tenants there is no guarantee of rehousing in the immediate area after demolition. For leaseholders, demolition could result in a Compulsory Purchase Order, a pretty draconian power as it deprives people of their property if not their homes. How does this sit with all the new Human Rights Act legislation?

The buildings on our estate are 85 years old, of solid construction, with generous and well proportioned interior space. The blocks are just in need of the refurbishment which EEH has failed to provide since they took on the freehold. We believe this would be cheaper and less painful and destructive than redevelopment. Despite paying lip service to considering this option we have yet to see any evidence that EEH have seriously thought this option through. Rather, most of their (scant) communications to us have been a poorly disguised attempt to spin the case in favour of demolition.

The site is at the edge of 5 conservation areas whom we suspect will not be happy to have another 25 story identikit plastic high rise on their doorstep, highly likely sold to buy—to—leave ghost owners. These are the Wentworth Street Conservation Area, Artillery Passage Conservation Area, Fournier Street and Brick Lane Conservation Area, Whitechapel High Street Conservation Area and Elder Street Conservation Area.

The option of demolishing the nearby site of Herbert and Jacobson Houses (also under EEH management) was rejected. What were the grounds for this?
Brune, Bernard, Carter and Barnet Houses cover 2.5 acres of high value land (as opposed to the 0.75 acres of Herbert and Jacobson Houses).

“If the transfer goes ahead, the Council would enter into a legal agreement with EEH. EEH would be bound to keep the promises set out in this document and the Council could take legal action against them if they do not” — as per pre—transfer document.

EEH history of poor management and disregard of residents:

  • Not done what they signed to do in transfer document
  • Rejected holding public meetings with residents to discuss their plans for our estate
  • We were told resident consultation would take place in January or February 2015 but this has not happened
  • Promises regarding our community center have been reneged upon
  • Misinformation campaign including misleading information about lease- extensions and potential major works bills if demolition does not go aheadDivide and rule approach to resident involvement
  • Incorrect Estate Board meeting minutes minutes attributing the demolition suggestion to residents
  • The non—transparent and bullying nature of EEH approach potentially creates long—term mental health issues in the community such as stress and depression.
  • The community don’t trust EEH to do a fair consultation

Can you help us?

We ask you in the name of our community to look into this matter immediately with a view to use your influence and knowledge to do whatever you can to stop the proposed demolition and to remove section 138A & 5A notice. We also need help in bringing EEH to account and persuading them to meet our demands outlined above.

We are asking your opinion and help now, before it is too late!
Email us at bbcresidents@gmail.com
Follow us on twitter @bbcresidents
Like us on Facebook Brune Bernard Carter – BBC Residents

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