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Regen funds to be withheld if residents vote against plans

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Proposed regeneration schemes will have to be approved by existing social housing residents before they are eligible for City Hall funding, under rules introduced by London mayor Sadiq Khan today.

Under the new approach, which takes immediate effect, residents of estates will have the opportunity to vote on plans which involve the demolition of properties – a move described as the first of its kind in the country.

The mayor’s office said mandatory ballots, first proposed in draft form earlier this year, have been backed by 88% of consultation respondents and will place residents “at the centre of decision-making” on regeneration schemes.

The draft version has been strengthened to include detail on how funding can be clawed back when a completed project is found not to comply with the landlord’s original offer. 

The voting age will be 16 for the ballots, which will be carried out by an independent body.

The London mayor’s planning rules, set out in the document Better Homes for Local People, requires demolished housing to be replaced “like-for-like”.

There are an estimated 35 social housing regeneration schemes being carried out across London involving City Hall funding at any one time.

Mr Khan, said: “When estate regeneration is done well, it can improve the lives of existing residents as well as building more social housing. But that has not always been the case.

“Anyone drawing up plans for estate regeneration must involve local people and must consider what impact their plans will have on people who live there now.”

The London mayor has also called for councils and housing associations to commit to ballots on schemes which will not receive City Hall funding.

Newly elected mayor of Lewisham LBC Damien Egan (Lab) welcomed the new approach, saying it would place communities “truly at the heart of changes in their area”.

Enfield LBC leader Nesil Caliskan (Lab) described the approach as “sensible” and a “genuinely engaging way of making sure future developments meet the needs of the people who are going to live on them”.

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