It would be good if there could be an article in Here & Now about how decisions about the allocations are made? Would this be possible?
Yes, that’s a good idea. At the last public meeting some residents asked us why their neighbours are moving into the new development before them, when they’ve been told that they will have to wait for a number of years before they can be permanently re-housed. Please see pages 3 and 4 for an article on the Wornington Green redevelopment allocations process.
Some of the bedrooms in the new properties seem rather small. Why was it designed this way? Shouldn’t all bedrooms be the same size?
One of the commitments in the Wornington Green Residents’ Charter is that Catalyst will “build homes to similar space standards as existing”.
This means that new homes are being built to Parker Morris Standard. Properties on Wornington Green were originally built to Parker Morris Standards, so the new homes will be a similar size. For example, the total floor area of a two bedroom flat should be at least 73 square metres.
Although the total floor area of each home will meet Parker Morris Standards, property layouts and room sizes will vary. Some bedrooms are smaller than others, but these properties will benefit from more space elsewhere e.g. a larger kitchen/dining/living area. There are a number of different property layouts in Phase 1.
This is something we have reviewed for Phase 2 and we have reduced the number of different layouts where possible and to keep room shapes and sizes similar, except in response to feedback from the Residents’ Design Group which asked for some flats with open plan kitchen/dining/living areas and some with separate kitchens. This will help us meet residents’ preferences as well as their housing needs.
Phase 2 homes have also been designed to the Mayor’s London Housing Design Guide (LHDG) standards – these are higher than Parker Morris (for instance a Parker Morris one bedroom, two person unit has a minimum of 45.6 square metres, the LHDG minimum is 50 square metres). The LHDG also specifies minimum sizes for different types of rooms (single, double bedrooms) and minimum dimensions for rooms and outdoor spaces such as balconies – all the Phase 2 homes will meet or exceed these.
All one bedroom properties in the new development are built as one bedroom, two person homes e.g. they will have a double bedroom. Many of the larger properties have single bedrooms in them as we are building homes to meet a variety of housing needs.
When we make offers of accommodation to residents we talk them through the floor plans and make people aware of the size of their rooms and the layouts. We also help residents to measure their furniture to make sure it fits in their new home and help people think about furniture layout to make best use of space.
If residents move from a property with a garden to one with a balcony, will they be compensated?
Homes in the new development are allocated on the basis of “housing need” – the size of home the resident needs and the type of accommodation that is suitable for them. Residents with medical conditions are asked to complete a medical assessment form and a medical advisor will establish what sort of accommodation is suitable for them. Residents with the most limited mobility are allocated properties on the lower floors of the new development. This is a much fairer way of allocating homes than to try to match new homes to what residents are moving from, which would actually be very difficult for several reasons:
1. Residents often do not need or want the same size property that they have at present, either because they are giving up bedrooms or because their adult children are being re-housed separately.
2. There is also a mismatch between the existing estate and the new development in terms of the number of homes with gardens and the sizes of these homes. On the existing estate most of the properties with gardens are one and two bedroom homes. In the new development there aren’t as many ground floor properties and most of them are larger sized homes suitable for families.
Will the partial demolition of Pepler House cause vibrations and structural damage to the rest of the block – make the block colder, allow rats etc to enter the building?
No! Our building contractor for Phase 2 will ensure that demolition experts are used to undertake the partial demolition of Pepler House safely and securely. Surveys will be undertaken beforehand to ensure that the demolition does not cause any structural damage to the rest of the block. We have allowed for a ‘buffer zone’ of flats to separate existing residents from the demolition part of the block. Pest control arrangements are also put in place on our construction sites to ensure that surrounding homes are not affected.
We will ensure that we minimise disruption as far as possible for residents living in the rest of the block in terms of noise, vibrations and dust. This was the approach that we used last year for the successful partial demolition of Telford House, where many residents continued to live in their homes throughout the whole demolition process. We told residents what to expect beforehand and stayed in regular contact with them to keep them informed and deal with any queries or concerns. The demolition was well managed from start to finish and we will ensure that the same thing happens when we undertake the partial demolition of Pepler House.
Is the compensation for loss of a garden fair?
All Catalyst tenants living on Wornington Green are entitled to a home in the new development (if that is what they would like) and all new homes have private outside space, either a balcony or a garden.
The compensation of í2,000 for giving up a garden is in recognition that it is a facility that residents value, although they are guaranteed to continue to have their own private outside space in the new development.