Colville Estate residents being “bulldozed” in Hackney Council’s estate regeneration

A Tory councillor is standing up against the raw deal she feels Colville residents are getting from Hackney Council’s regeneration of their estate, and believes they are being bulldozed - in the same way their estate will soon be.

Felton House in Branch Place is one of the first blocks which will be demolished on the Shoreditch estate, which will see 884 homes replace the 412 existing ones over the course of 10 years.

Tenants who have lived in the block for over 30 years have been told that they will not re-homed not on a like for like basis, but according to housing need, plus one extra bedroom.

Many residents who currently have three or four bedrooms will be eligible for two bedrooms instead.

Cllr Linda Kelly believes this is contrary to their assured secure tenancy rights: “Unless there’s antisocial behaviour or you default on your rent, they can’t get you out, they have to cajole you or give you an incentive otherwise this is your house forever, assured tenants are assured tenants.

“What they’re doing is taking away their statutory rights by stealth.

“The tenants are very lucky it’s going to be refurbished, and they will get something other people will only envy, but the point is there are rights involved in it as well, they didn’t ask for the estate to be regenerated, it was forced on them,” she added.

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Residents like Jean Welton and Jennifer Hutchinson who have had gardens on the estate for over 30 years have requested a garden in the new build, but have been told this cannot be guaranteed. Cllr Kelly hopes to secure a better deal for them in the move.

Tenants on the estate feel as if they are living in limbo, because although they were told before Christmas their block would be demolished in June, they still have no idea where they will live during the three years it is rebuilt.

Meanwhile leaseholders still do not know what price they will get for their homes, and fear they may be priced out of the area.

A council spokesman said a cabinet report being prepared for April will make things clearer, but that they hope to re-house tenants by the end of July.

A Hackney Homes spokeswoman said they wanted to house as many families as possible in homes of suitable size and space.

“It must be recognised that in the current environment where the council waiting list is over 18,000 and where family sizes have changed; there is the opportunity to downsize or the option to move off the estate,” she added.