“Artwashing”. “Estate regeneration”. “Gentrification”. Profit.
All words which have been used, accusingly, against other London local authorities, Labour- and Tory-run, and which are increasingly being used to describe aspects of Croydon’s plans.
SIMON ELMER is a leading figure in ASH, Architects for Social Housing. Following this week’s Grenfell Tower disaster, he has received an account which puts forward some troubling theories over the re-cladding of the Kensington tower block where dozens of people lost their lives
This is the view for which hundreds of residents died.
Studio E Architect’s all-white, middle-class vision of the re-clad Grenfell Tower.
Someone has written to ASH anonymously about the possible motivations for the Conservative council’s refurbishment of Grenfell Tower last year:
“Studio E’s design images indicate Grenfell Tower was likely to have been tarted up to raise the Right to Buy value of the property, and possibly to socially cleanse: see the people in the pictures – a vision hardly representative of the current social mix!
“All the London boroughs are doing this because returns on investment are far greater in London property than cash in a bank account, as ASH reminds us regularly. 120 flats x say £250,000 each = £30million return on an £8.6million refurbishment investment.
“In London, Right to Buy is an organised high-yield industry. Even before the qualifying three-year period is up, often coercive agents will ‘encourage’ tenants to apply to buy, with the promise of funding the purchase via a third party. That has happened in most London boroughs, especially where value is high.
“There have been (unsubstantiated) reports of aggressive coercion.
The tenant/agent then sells at open market value and everyone takes a nice cut of the profit. Obviously the opportunities for corruption among housing allocations executives and tenant management authorities is gapingly wide.”
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