← back to index

September email reply to David Roberts
Legal

Poplar HARCA, 2014

Intro

Following a meeting with Poplar HARCA, ten questions were submitted on 10 June 2014. These were answered on 25 September 2014.

Quotes

1. TENURE ACROSS BROWNFIELD ESTATE
a) Can you provide a breakdown of tenure (social rented / affordable rented / private rented / shared ownership / owner occupiers / shorthold tenancies / property guardians / Bow Arts Trust’s LiveWork Scheme) in each block of the Brownfield Estate before the stock transfer vote?
b) Can you provide a breakdown of tenure in each block now, including new infill blocks?
c) Can you provide an estimated breakdown of tenure in each block after all regeneration works have been completed?
d) Are figures available documenting tenure changes in each block on an annual basis?

I’m afraid we don’t have the capacity to go into that kind of detail, including researching pre-ballot council data, non-Poplar HARCA stock and private ownership / rental data. I can however confirm: 

  • The infill blocks (currently being completed) will provide 25 homes (accom for 97 people) for social rent
  • New build in Ida & Follett Street has provided 32 new family sized homes (3-7 bed) all for social rent
  • Panoramic building provided 112 homes, 90 for private sale and 22 family sized for shared ownership
  • The final decision has not yet been made regarding final tenure mix at Balfron Tower
  • The RTB has obviously become more popular since the raising of the cap – which has led to a rise in the number of applications across our stock  

2. SOCIAL RENTED TENANTS IN BALFRON TOWER
a) Do social rented tenants of Balfron Tower have a right to return?
   

This will be discussed with our joint venture partners. Is possible, but not probable, that some may return 

b) If so, how many will return?

As above   

c) Can you provide a list showing the approximate location of where households have been relocated to i.e. listed by block or ward or postcode (Carradale House / other blocks in the Brownfield Estate / Poplar / Tower Hamlets / beyond the local authority)?

Of the 102 social tenancies in Balfron Tower, 71 of the households moved to other Poplar HARCA homes locally within E14. In fact 10 moved just next door to Carradale House. 18 remained locally within Tower Hamlets having successfully bid for social tenancies in E1, E2 and E3 which are only a ten minute bus ride away. Many of the social tenants living in Balfron Tower were families living in overcrowded conditions and this was an opportunity to move to more suitable homes – many of which were new build social rent homes developed by us. 

3. LEASEHOLDERS IN BALFRON TOWER
a) How many leaseholders will return to Balfron Tower?

All leaseholders have a right to return. Some definitely will – especially given the flexible approach Poplar HARCA takes towards paying major works costs,- some will take the opportunity of selling back to Poplar HARCA. This process is still continuing so we cannot say precisely how many will choose to return. 
 
b) Can you provide a list showing the approximate location of where households have been relocated to i.e. listed by block or ward or postcode (Carradale House / other blocks in the Brownfield Estate / Poplar / Tower Hamlets / beyond the local authority)?

Leaseholders selling their homes back to Poplar HARCA have no duty to inform us where they are moving to. Equally, a number are absent leaseholders who do not live in the flat.

4. REFURBISHMENT WORKS IN BALFRON TOWER 
a) What is the current status of the refurbishment of Balfron Tower?

Some limited initial survey work has been carried out   

b) Has an architect / developer been appointed?

Contracts have not been sign to date   

c) How have refurbishment costs been calculated?

Costs are yet to be calculated   

d) Will any rents change as a result of the refurbishment works?

No   

e) When are plans likely to be made publicly available?

Timelines will be clearer once joint venture contracts have been signed.   

f) What opportunities have been / will be made available to tenants and residents to contribute to the nature and design of refurbishment works?

There will be a full community consultation that Poplar HARCA will carry out, as well as the statutory one by LBTH. 

g) How have tenants and residents been updated with the progress of the refurbishment?

The offer from the Council back in 2007 alerted residents that 130 homes would have to be sold to make-up the shortfall in the funding for these much needed works. When Balfron was transferred to us from the Council we took on a contract to renovate the building. We have to deliver on that contractual obligation and would want to as over time the building will continue to deteriorate.

We’ve been working with Balfron, Carradale & Brownfield residents since 2010; discussing the refurbishment, the technical and financial positions, their individual needs and ambitions, and helping them to find new homes as required. We had regular weekly surgeries in the Estate, circulated booklets, newsletters and FAQs, as well as visiting and engaging with each resident and absent leaseholder personally. We have updated and discussed the project with the local Estate Board on a monthly basis, plus working on a Community Cohesion Strategy together.  

h) How have all residents of the tower been updated with details of meanwhile uses (eg. residency programmes, theatrical productions...)

We have been liaising closely with the Brownfield Estate Board and three letters updating residents on programmes (and containing out of hours contact numbers) have been hand delivered to every flat. Posters have been put up in local Estate Noticeboards and flyers circulated. We have also offered heavily discounted tickets to various events and are involving the local residents and schools in several arts projects and community days/events. 

Questions
& Answers

Will there be a net gain or loss of social rented accommodation within the Brownfield Estate following regeneration works?

Page(s):

1. TENURE ACROSS BROWNFIELD ESTATE
a) Can you provide a breakdown of tenure (social rented / affordable rented / private rented / shared ownership / owner occupiers / shorthold tenancies / property guardians / Bow Arts Trust’s LiveWork Scheme) in each block of the Brownfield Estate before the stock transfer vote?
b) Can you provide a breakdown of tenure in each block now, including new infill blocks?
c) Can you provide an estimated breakdown of tenure in each block after all regeneration works have been completed?
d) Are figures available documenting tenure changes in each block on an annual basis?

I’m afraid we don’t have the capacity to go into that kind of detail, including researching pre-ballot council data, non-Poplar HARCA stock and private ownership / rental data. I can however confirm: 

  • The infill blocks (currently being completed) will provide 25 homes (accom for 97 people) for social rent
  • New build in Ida & Follett Street has provided 32 new family sized homes (3-7 bed) all for social rent
  • Panoramic building provided 112 homes, 90 for private sale and 22 family sized for shared ownership
  • The final decision has not yet been made regarding final tenure mix at Balfron Tower
  • The RTB has obviously become more popular since the raising of the cap – which has led to a rise in the number of applications across our stock

2. SOCIAL RENTED TENANTS IN BALFRON TOWER
c) Can you provide a list showing the approximate location of where households have been relocated to i.e. listed by block or ward or postcode (Carradale House / other blocks in the Brownfield Estate / Poplar / Tower Hamlets / beyond the local authority)?

Of the 102 social tenancies in Balfron Tower, 71 of the households moved to other Poplar HARCA homes locally within E14. In fact 10 moved just next door to Carradale House. 18 remained locally within Tower Hamlets having successfully bid for social tenancies in E1, E2 and E3 which are only a ten minute bus ride away. Many of the social tenants living in Balfron Tower were families living in overcrowded conditions and this was an opportunity to move to more suitable homes – many of which were new build social rent homes developed by us.

Will residents be able to return to their flats in the tower following the refurbishment works?

Page(s):

1. Can you update me on the decision whether social rented tenants will have a right of return to Balfron Tower? 

There is still no final decision on this. The expectation remains that it is possible but not probable. 

Where have former residents moved to?

Page(s):

2. SOCIAL RENTED TENANTS IN BALFRON TOWER
c) Can you provide a list showing the approximate location of where households have been relocated to i.e. listed by block or ward or postcode (Carradale House / other blocks in the Brownfield Estate / Poplar / Tower Hamlets / beyond the local authority)?

Of the 102 social tenancies in Balfron Tower, 71 of the households moved to other Poplar HARCA homes locally within E14. In fact 10 moved just next door to Carradale House. 18 remained locally within Tower Hamlets having successfully bid for social tenancies in E1, E2 and E3 which are only a ten minute bus ride away. Many of the social tenants living in Balfron Tower were families living in overcrowded conditions and this was an opportunity to move to more suitable homes – many of which were new build social rent homes developed by us. 
 
3. LEASEHOLDERS IN BALFRON TOWER
b) Can you provide a list showing the approximate location of where households have been relocated to i.e. listed by block or ward or postcode (Carradale House / other blocks in the Brownfield Estate / Poplar / Tower Hamlets / beyond the local authority)?

Leaseholders selling their homes back to Poplar HARCA have no duty to inform us where they are moving to. Equally, a number are absent leaseholders who do not live in the flat. 

Who lives in Balfron Tower?

Page(s):

1. TENURE ACROSS BROWNFIELD ESTATE
a) Can you provide a breakdown of tenure (social rented / affordable rented / private rented / shared ownership / owner occupiers / shorthold tenancies / property guardians / Bow Arts Trust’s LiveWork Scheme) in each block of the Brownfield Estate before the stock transfer vote?
b) Can you provide a breakdown of tenure in each block now, including new infill blocks?
c) Can you provide an estimated breakdown of tenure in each block after all regeneration works have been completed?
d) Are figures available documenting tenure changes in each block on an annual basis?

I’m afraid we don’t have the capacity to go into that kind of detail, including researching pre-ballot council data, non-Poplar HARCA stock and private ownership / rental data.