Woodberry Down families fear being made homeless as estate is bulldozed
- Credit: Vickie Flores
Residents whose homes are being knocked down in the regeneration of Finsbury Park have complained Hackney Council is not paying them the value their properties are worth.
Home owners in Spring Park Drive, Burtley Close and Town Court Path – the latest part of the Woodberry Down estate to be developed in a 20-year regeneration project – have been told that they must leave their homes on March 20, and many still have nowhere to go.
Diyar Pala’s family live in a three-bedroom house with a front and back garden which has been valued at £330,000, plus 10 per cent compensation – but his family say they are unable to find a similar freehold home in the area or even as far away as Enfield at that price.
He said: “They are wrecking our home, we are going to be homeless. It’s a shame as my dad worked 18 years to get this place, he is 60 years old and he can’t get another mortgage. OK, it needs a regeneration project, but we don’t want everything taken away from us. Re-house us and give us an equivalent house.”
Huseyin Uzun, 44, who owns two homes in Burtley Close, also believes his properties have been undervalued. He said: “The construction company is getting the benefit, not the residents or Londoners – nobody can afford to buy that kind of flat.
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“I can’t sleep at night, I don’t know what I am going to do.”
Flats in just one 30-storey development in Woodberry Down marketed by Berkeley Homes are being sold at between £455,000 for a one bedroom flat, up to nearly £1.2m for three bedroom properties.
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A spokesman for the council insisted every homeowner had been offered various options, including upgrading to a new house through either a shared ownership or shared equity scheme – which would entail paying no rent on the part they did not own.
Strict government guidance states that the value of the land must be based upon what it might be expected to realise if sold in the open market by a willing seller, meaning it is not legally possible to swap an old home for a new one which is worth a lot more.
Cllr Philip Glanville, cabinet member for housing, said: “It is regrettable, but understandable that we have only been able to offer newly-built and existing flats in Stoke Newington and Hackney, as houses with gardens are, by and large, extremely difficult to provide while trying to make the best use of available land to build new high quality homes.”