South Kilburn regeneration project dubbed ‘social cleansing’ by residents
- Credit: Archant
Housing chiefs have been accused of social cleansing the South Kilburn Estate by selling off new homes built as part its £600million regeneration to overseas buyers.
Residents claim Brent Council failed to tell them that half of the 2,400 new homes being built would be sold at the market rate.
The remaining homes have been reserved for social and affordable housing.
Members of Alpha, Gorefield and Canterbury Tenants’ and Residents’ Association claim that the sky-high prices of the new builds put them out of reach for many residents who have grown up in the area for generations.
Pete Firmin, who is a committee member of the residents’ association, said: “We thought the project was about improving local facilities and living conditions in social homes; but now, those who have been living in the area are essentially being driven out. This all amounts to a social cleansing of South Kilburn.”
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Earlier this month the Times revealed that all 95 flats in the revamped Willesden Library Cultural Centre had been sold to an investor who is marketing the properties in Asia.
A one-bedroom flat in the development is being marketed online for £405,000.
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Sujata Aurora, of Brent Housing Action, a group that campaigns for the building of more social homes in the borough, said: “Brent Council doesn’t appear to have learnt any lessons after the disastrous marketing in Asia of the Willesden Library flats.
“We have a desperate need for low-cost social housing in this borough, yet once again it seems that overseas property speculators are to be the main beneficiaries of this so-called regeneration.”
Cllr Margaret McLennan, lead member for regeneration and housing, said homes sold in the open market subsidise the building of affordable homes.
She added: “Residents with secure council tenancies who live in the blocks due to be redeveloped will be offered new affordable properties within the regeneration area.
“Local residents are fully consulted before any development.”