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Decent homes costs prompt tower block sale

Southwark council is considering selling a tower block to a private developer because of a lack of funds to meet its decent homes requirements.

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The local authority estimated in April 2008 it needed a further £180 million to reach the standard across all its stock. It is currently reviewing that figure.

Since 2001, no flats have been permanently let in the block it wants to sell, Maydew House, due to the extensive work needed.

External surveyors have suggested it would cost £15 million to bring it up to standard and officers decided the investment was ‘very difficult to justify’.

The council was to decide the future of the block at a meeting of the executive at the beginning of last month, but has deferred the decision to give residents more information.

Residents were furious saying they had not been properly consulted, and contacted Liberal Democrat MP for North Southwark and Bermondsey Simon Hughes.

He sent a letter to the Lib Dem-led council to ask for a wider consultation, a more detailed survey of costs of refurbishment and clear proposal of how residents will be re-housed if the block is sold.

He wrote: ‘I know that in difficult economic times councils are having to make tough decisions.

‘However, your local Liberal Democrats and I are clear that local people should have a say in decisions which affect their lives.’

It is believed this would be the first time Southwark has sold a tower block to a private developer, but the local authority would not confirm this. It also said it could not give an estimate of how much the block would be expected to fetch.

A council spokesperson said it had written to all Maydew House residents after the executive meeting last month.

‘We are now in the process of pulling together an information pack, which will include all the relevant information for our tenants and leaseholders. We hope to send it out shortly,’ they said.

‘We believe it’s important that residents have as much information as possible. If following the release of the information pack any residents have any questions we will of course be happy to answer them.’

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Residents to move from Southwark blockResidents to move from Southwark block

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