Published On: 27th July 2022Categories: Gentrification, Housing, Judicial review
Poster advertising TRA meeting.

PILC is in the initial states of a prospective legal challenge to the proposed ‘regeneration’ (demolition) of the Central Hill Estate in Lambeth. On 14 July our Saskia O’Hara attended a residents’ meeting on the estate to update the local community on the progress of the case.

The meeting, organised by Central Hill’s Tenants and Residents Association (TRA), was a success. Residents learnt about their rights around issues ranging from repairs to the legal requirements for redevelopment consultations and the right of judicial review. 

But if Lambeth council had got its way, the meeting would never have taken place. The day before the meeting, Lambeth’s Resident Participation (!) Officer sent an email to the head of the TRA. The email stated: ‘I would ask that you immediately cancel arrangements for the meeting arranged for Thursday of this week. If you fail to do so, you will be in further breach of the TRA Code of Conduct. Regrettably, the sanctions [for failing to cancel the meeting] will include your removal as TRA Chair […]’

The email also stated that ‘any posters [publicising the meeting] displayed in the common parts of the Central Hill Estate will be removed.’

The offending email.

PILC helped residents formulate a response to the email, citing their right to hold such a meeting, and pointing out that the principles of Lambeth’s own constitution refer to ‘working with other community groups to encourage and support a vibrant and strong civil society.’  Why, then, was the council’s own Resident Engagement Officer actively discouraging the community on Central Hill Estate from organising to learn about their legal rights?

As one resident put it, ‘[t]hanks to PILC […] Lambeth Council has been […] caught out as the bully that it is. For years, residents on Central Hill have been harassed by [the council] simply because our estate is facing demolition […f] rom being told not to garden in 2020 […] to now being told that resolving residents’ longstanding repair needs […] caused by Lambeth’s very own neglect […] contravenes [regulations] Thanks to [PILC], this [behaviour] has been shown to be unconstitutional.’

The legal case continues.

PILC is expanding its work to support and litigate in solidarity with communities experiencing unjust gentrification. Please keep an eye on this blog for regular updates.