Hackney calls on Westbrook Partners to sell New Era estate to a housing association
The Mayor of Hackney and the Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing have written to the American owners of the New Era Estate, asking them to sell the estate to a local housing association.
The move comes in the wake of news that Westbrook Partners is planning to issue eviction notices and clear the estate to refurbish it for rental at full market value with no affordable housing.
The Council has offered to help broker a deal with a housing association in order to protect the tenancies of the 92 families living in the estate in Hoxton, who are threatened with eviction.
The letter, to Westbrook Partners, says: “The New Era Estate is a long-established community that includes elderly and disabled tenants along with those on low incomes. It is not acceptable that you should move to evict them from their homes in this manner, and we hope you will agree that the tenants of the estate should be treated with respect and consideration.
“We are calling on you to honour the rent commitments made by Hoxton Regeneration, that there will be no further rent increases until 2016. This is a bare minimum we would ask, to give tenants ample time to plan for the future, and again it is not acceptable that having given these commitments, albeit informally, Westbrook should withdraw them.”
As well as highlighting the devastating impact on the lives of residents, the letter also emphasises the huge financial cost to the taxpayer of rehousing the vulnerable residents who will be left homeless if the developer goes ahead with its plans – likely to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Our first concern is the impact Westbrook’s plans will have on New Era residents. We are calling on them to meet existing commitments and start talking directly with residents. The personal cost to the families living on New Era will be significant, and taxpayers are rightly outraged that we will in effect be paying for temporary accommodation for these vulnerable residents, while an American investment firm lines its pockets.