Fears over ‘once in a lifetime’ chance for Stonebridge estate dwellers to be ballotted

Mary Rands, who lives on the St Raphael's Estate. Picture: Nathalie Raffray

Mary Rands, who lives on the St Raphael's Estate. Picture: Nathalie Raffray - Credit: Archant

The community living on a Stonebridge estate have expressed fears over their “once in a life time” opportunity to be balloted on redevelopment proposals where they live.

Brent Council cabinet members gave the green light to neighbours on St Raphael’s Estate to vote on what happens to their homes in the future.

If passed by full council next year, Brent will be one of the first boroughs to action the Mayor of London’s ballot policy on regeneration.

Sadiq Khan requests that major estate regeneration schemes have residents’ backing before they can receive City Hall funding.

Tenants and leaseholders have two options: one option involves refurbishing their homes and building around them, which would not require a ballot.

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A second option is to demolish the estate and redevelop it, which would be subject to a vote.

Mary Rands, who has lived on the estate since it was built in 1975, said she didn’t trust what they are being offered.

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The 79-year-old retired civil servant told the Kilburn Times after the meeting: “I reckon it’s a foregone conclusion. If the whole thing is a “no”, nothing will get done because they have no money and they’ll leave it to go to rack and ruin.

“If we vote “yes” they will do what they want to it, how they want to do it. I asked the council about our tenancies. What will happen to them? Is it about making money for them? Is it about cleansing the area and sending people out of borough?

“The fear is not knowing.”

Another neighbour said: “I lived in Stonebridge and it was knocked down, I lived in Chalkhill and that was knocked down and I thought St Raph’s was my last move. It’s peaceful here. Sometimes there are problems in the summer but mainly we are a community living in peace.

“The council has just put in new kitchens and bathrooms. Why and what will happen to residents if it does get knocked down? Will they be decamped?”

Cllr Muhammed Butt, council leader, said: “We are committed to putting residents in the driving seat, making decisions about where they live. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for residents to redesign the estate they love.

”This is a unique opportunity to build brand new homes that meet the needs of the families who live on St Raph’s. I’m proud that Brent residents could be some of the first to have the chance to participate in a ballot before anything goes ahead.”

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