Planning and consultation

What does The Guinness Partnership want to do at Northwold and why?

Today’s housing climate means we need to provide more affordable homes in London by making better use of our existing estates. So we’re exploring the Northwold Estate in Hackney as a potential place for new homes.

We want any potential regeneration to create a sustainable community, where existing residents are proud to live.

What’s the timeline for consultation and decisions?

We’ve completed the first stage of consultation, which told residents and other stakeholders about the possible regeneration, considered regeneration options and identified the needs of the community.

We used the information we got from resident consultation in the summer to assess each option. Based on all the information gathered, partial development best met the requirements in this assessment. In September and October 2016, we shared these results with residents at consultation events.

Now we’re looking at the social, environmental and physical considerations of the different redevelopment options. We need to balance our goal of building additional homes on the estate with these considerations. We’ll work with residents to assess the impact any new development would have on the community.

We’ll share an initial consultation timeline with residents in early 2017. We’ll also make sure that council staff, elected members and other key stakeholders are fully consulted throughout the process.

UPDATE: We hope to share initial consultation results with residents in late 2017/early 2018.

In the meantime, we welcome your views. You can email or arrange a home visit by calling 0800 644 6040 (Monday–Friday).

There’s a belief that Guinness has already made up its mind.

We haven’t. We’re committed to ensuring any proposals for the estate are developed with extensive community engagement. There have, and will, be many opportunities for the community to be involved in any regeneration plans at Northwold.

Should Guinness be more visible on the estate?

We want the Northwold community to feel fully involved in the regeneration decisions, so we’ve attended all the public consultation events so far. We’ve established many forms of stakeholder engagement and identified the issues, concerns, priorities and needs from these events.

We’ve deliberately not attended the steering group or tenant and leaseholder forums because residents requested some time at these to digest the information received so far.

We’ve been assessing all of the feedback from the first two rounds of public consultation events and will keep in regular contact with residents throughout the consultation period.

UPDATE: In November 2017 we opened a consultation Hub on the estate. The Hub will be open 3 days a week and is a way of increasing local consultation on the estate, with all options on display for review.

How are you involving residents in the plans?

We’re working with our residents and Newman Francis, a company that specialises in customer engagement, in a full consultation process, which includes:

  • a series of introductory events
  • consulting the Tenants and Residents Association
  • consulting local stakeholders (councillors and MPs)
  • setting up a Residents’ Working Group
  • setting up tenants’ and leaseholders’ forums
  • newsletters
  • resident surveys and ‘door-knocking’ exercises.

Why are there different residents’ forums for those potentially affected and those not?

There are separate forums for residents and leaseholders because some of their issues and concerns are very different. However, there are many things that apply to all the forums:

  • we’ll provide information to each forum to help residents understand the options (subject to data protection and restrictions around sensitive information)
  • they’ll help residents have a say on issues affecting them
  • they’ll help Guinness understand issues from residents’ perspectives
  • they’ll provide feedback on any proposals or engagement activities
  • they’ll question Guinness on our proposals and highlight any issues arising amongst residents
  • they’ll advise Guinness on how to make sure all residents hear and can comment on any proposals
  • they’ll comment on delivery of any projects – design, phasing, construction etc.

The forums are not decision-making bodies; but they have an important role to play in the consultation. They guarantee that residents’ voices are heard when we make decisions.

What support are you giving to tenants and residents through the consultation process?

Guinness and Newman Francis staff will be working with resident representatives to appoint an Independent Tenant and Leaseholder Advisor (ITLA). This is in response to requests from groups at Northwold who want independent advice.

We have a list of companies who are experienced in supporting residents engaged in looking at regeneration plans for their communities. They have prior experience of working in the London Borough of Hackney. This service will be help support the next phase of the consultation.

How will you keep residents informed of progress?

We’ll be sharing an initial consultation timeline with residents in early 2017.

And we’ll keep in touch through newsletters, letters and local events. We’re still very keen to hear your views and to answer any questions. You can email or arrange a home visit by calling 0800 644 6040 (Monday–Friday).

The regeneration process at Northwold

How long will the new estate take to build?

The partial redevelopment option is based on a phased approach, which means that existing residents are not moved off the estate. The first draft suggests it could take between 5 and 10 years depending on a number of factors (particularly how many phases are required and how many homes are affected by each phase).

Will residents be forced off the estate?

Any tenant with an assured, secure or fixed-term tenancy who wants to continue living on the estate will be able to.

They’ll be guaranteed a new property and, where possible, we will try to match the new property with any housing needs. Residents will also stay in their old home until their new home is ready – no one will be moved off the estate.

How will Guinness meet the needs of residents in the rehousing process?

We’ll review each resident’s circumstances – under-occupying, overcrowding, living in adapted properties, disabilities etc – on a case-by-case basis to make sure everyone’s needs are met in their new home.

Will residents be compensated when they move into a new home?

We’ll pay residents a statutory home loss payment, which is currently £5,800.

They’ll also get disturbance payments, which include:

  • any removal costs
  • any costs for disconnecting and reconnecting utilities or appliances.

Where will residents live while the new homes are being built?

They’ll stay in their current home until their new home is ready. If partial redevelopment is chosen, the development will be built in phases. The first phase will be built before any homes are demolished. We’re prioritising the first phases for existing Guinness residents. This means nobody will need to move off the estate, and current customers will benefit from the new homes first. So residents will only need to move once.

What’s happening with Wensdale House?

At the last round of public consultation events, we were given feedback from residents that we’re now investigating. We’ll report back to residents in early 2017.

If partial redevelopment is chosen, what about the blocks that aren’t part of it?

If partial redevelopment is the preferred option, we’ll consult with residents of any blocks not earmarked for demolition on an improvement programme.

We’ll also be making environmental improvements to the whole estate as part of the regeneration, including:

  • new landscaping
  • fencing
  • walkways/footpaths
  • improved communal areas
  • tree planting.

What are you doing to improve the overall maintenance of the estate before and during the potential development work?

We’re sorry that some residents feel we’ve not been on top of repairs and maintenance on the estate. We’re investigating and reviewing our long-term plan to make sure that every Guinness home, new and current, is warm, dry and safe.

We’re working on a repairs programme for residents before and during any regeneration work. We’ll share this at consultation events.

Living on the estate

What improvements will current residents get from this redevelopment?

Current residents will see a number of benefits, including:

  • new, larger and modern homes
  • lower running costs through the provision of more energy-efficient homes
  • increased security through design in the new homes
  • large-scale improvements of public, refuse, cycle, parking and play areas
  • new central community centre
  • dedicated play area, ball court and playable pedestrian streets
  • current residents won’t need to move off the estate while their new homes are being built
  • the community will be kept together
  • new affordable housing for people in housing need in Hackney.

Will there still be social rented housing on the estate?

Yes. There will be no loss of social rented homes on the estate. In fact there will be an overall increase in social rented homes.

What tenure will the new homes be?

It’s too early to confirm exact numbers right now. The number and tenure of new homes will be agreed through the design and planning process. And this might change depending on which option is chosen after consultation feedback.

There will be a mix of new homes on the estate – including private homes for sale or rent, which will help pay for the extra affordable housing.

Will new homes be available for local people?

This regeneration is focused on providing new housing for local people. A Local Lettings Plan will make sure all new homes go to local people, in particular from the London Borough of Hackney, in the first instance.

Will residents’ existing tenancies be protected?

Yes, tenancy conditions will remain the same when residents move into their new homes.

Will rents stay the same?

Yes, rents will stay the same. They’ll only change if someone moves to a home with more or fewer bedrooms.

What are the Guinness Guarantees?

We understand that regenerating an estate can cause stress and uncertainty for residents. We’re committed to giving them as much information and support as they need. And we’ve written to residents to give them our Guinness Guarantees, which are:

  • We’re not increasing the rents to fund any regeneration.
  • Rents will still be calculated in the same way that they are for all housing associations – through a government-set formula.
  • The tenancy agreement for your new home will be the same, with the same rights and responsibilities.
  • There’ll be no loss of social housing. Any homes proposed for demolition will be available in the new scheme.
  • We’ll deliver more affordable housing on the estate.

What about the impact of demolition on families on the estate?

We’re aware of the disruption that a regeneration can have on a community, and we know how important the community is to the people who live there. So we’ve adopted community as one of our key design principles. A phased approach to partial redevelopment – which wouldn’t see anyone move off the estate – would help with this.

Will the estate lose open spaces and play areas?

No, we’re creating new open spaces, including recreation areas and playgrounds for children, as well as other improvements to the public areas of the estate. Residents will be consulted on this as the designs progress.

How will Guinness manage parking?

We know there are parking pressures in the area, and we’ll be working with residents to better manage the spaces available and to make sure the vehicle management and parking strategy is fair.

For leaseholders

What are the options for leaseholders?

There are a number of options open, including a leasehold swap, a leasehold swap with shared equity, and shared ownership. Resident leaseholders who qualify will be entitled to receive support with legal valuation costs and moving home as well as a home loss payment.

What will be done to make sure leaseholders get a fair value for their property?

Any property valuations will be done independently by a RICs valuer. They’ll reflect values prior to regeneration proposals so they’re not affected negatively by the impact of ongoing building works. Leaseholders will have the option to appoint their own independent RICS valuer if they don’t agree with the initial valuation.

Will you take individual leaseholders’ circumstances into account?

We understand that everyone has different circumstances and requirements. We’ll meet with leaseholders on a one-to-one basis to understand their individual circumstances.