People’s Audit uncovers scale of Great Lambeth Housing Sell-Off

Research by Lambeth People’s Audit has uncovered a huge sell-off of council housing by the London Borough of Lambeth.

In the seven years from 2010/11 to 2017/18 Lambeth Council sold off more than 300 council homes. This is in addition to nearly 600 properties already sold off in the ten years to 2010 and does not include properties bought by council tenants under Right-To-Buy.

Using land registry data and other sources, Lambeth People’s Audit [1] has found the seven-year sell-off raised £150 million for the borough – and cost over £1.5 million in staff and legal fees to implement.

These capital receipts have not, however, led to a boom in building new council homes. The People’s Audit found only nine new council homes were built between 2014 and 2018.

A new People’s Audit report published on Monday 21st October 2019 [2], The Great Lambeth Housing Sell-Off, details the fate of individual properties, including:

  • Almost £100 million raised from selling former short-life properties in areas such as Clapham, Brixton and Crystal Palace, which had been owned by the council but maintained by their residents since the 1970s.
  • £50 million raised from the sale of other properties in areas such as Camberwell, Kennington, West Norwood, Stockwell, Brixton and West Dulwich.

It demonstrates the hand-over of what were once public assets to property developers (some of whom are based off-shore), buy-to-let private landlords and a number of wealthy individuals. After refurbishment some of these ex-council properties are home to some well off people including two members of the aristocracy and the heiress to a multi-million-pound fortune.

It illustrates how many of the properties bought cheaply from Lambeth have since been sold on by their new owners for considerably higher sums

Attempts by Lambeth People’s Audit to find out how the council has spent the money raised by the sell-off have been frustrated by the council’s refusal to answer repeated Freedom of Information requests. From publically available data, however, it appears very little has gone to fund new housing; capital spending has gone predominantly to schools and resurfacing roads and pavements.

Meanwhile, Lambeth Council announced in 2018 it will borrow £300 million from the government to fund a new home-building programme.

Notes:

  1. Who are the People’s Audit: http://www.thepeoplesaudit.info/about-2/
  2. Read The Great Lambeth Housing Sell-Off here:

3 comments

  1. I made my comments in town hall on the night,when LambethLabour voted to demolished Cressingham Gardens Estate that the truth is in the intensive care and the recovery is your finding. All these actions by Labour led council tells us that’s its done for the betterment of the poor working-class voters in Lambeth.
    Lambeth Labour is to demolished over repair for homes in Cressingham Gardens where repairs were estimated by Lambeth to £31,000 per property.
    The same council set to have repaired another property at £181,000 per property. for 19 refurbished council properties. The housing waiting list is growing, how can anyone justify this .The future of the poor working-class voters cannot be well served under this sort of massive sell -off, of public assets. I have learnt that LambethLabour is a honest,cooperative council and above all have the interests of the lambeth communities at heart. Lambeth Labour knows very well that there is poverty in Lambeth. Cressingham Garden residents demand for accountability and transparency to have their homes refurbished than demolition.
    It does confirm all my fears regarding the issue of gentrification.The working class, poor and the disabled people are not part of the communities. Can anyone tell me the difference between the Tories and the labour party. I am now thinking Green.
    Let’s have hope for everyone in the communities where the poor lives side by side with rich,after all the cemetery gate is open to all.
    Young people in our communities average earnings is not enough to get mortgage buy the one bedroom flat at the rate it’s today .
    I have vote Labour,after 30yrs of voting Labour never again. This article confirmed my fears. Where is the future for the hard working people when it comes to housing. This policy of sell off is not the future.

  2. Discuss this on Brixton s biggest forum:  Lambeth Council Watch news and updates about the co-operative council . Second People s Audit report challenges Lambeth Council to explain financial mismanagement at the Town Hall

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