Proposals to sell Crown Properties

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Proposals to sell Crown Properties

Post  Jamie on Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:27 pm

I am deeply concerned about the proposals outlined in the material I received by the Crown Estate today. As far as I can tell one option is to sell the freehold of Crown properties to a private landlord. This could signal the end of social housing and affordable housing for key workers in this area and potentially the eviction of many current tenants. I think it would be good idea to call an emergency meeting of the Crown Estate Residents Association to discuss the issues raised by the proposals.

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Re: Proposals to sell Crown Properties

Post  RobHarries on Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:43 am

I'm very concerned too. I'm going to read the material in detail this weekend, and hope to come back on this forum on Monday.
It would be useful to hear other peoples' opinions too, and thrash out any issues on this forum before we call for a meeting.

Til Monday


Rob
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Re: Proposals to sell Crown Properties

Post  hayvis on Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:05 am

We recently brought a house in St Agnes Close and it's certainly interesting news. Effectively the Crown Estate is run in the same manner as any private enterprise; ie, they are subject to exactly the same laws, and as such, can, and have been operating in exactly the same manner as a private landlord. The rights of social tenants will not change if the estate is sold to a private owner. A bigger worry is that a social housing authority buys the lease, in which case the laws over the estate are subject to change - The rules of admission to the estate could be broadened, and the right of first refusal over the freehold could disappear for private owners. There are even circumstances in which a social housing authority could redevelop.

In my opinion, the most pressing issue is that the character of the Estate remains unchanged. One of the best things that can happen is that the private owners (long lease) take action to buy the freehold themselves (at least 60% are privately owned according to research from Zoopla/Land Registry). If you are a home owner, you already have the right of first refusal to buy the freehold before the Crown can sell it to anybody else. In the case of houses, one can operate alone to do this, in the case of flats, you have to have a majority and have to act as a group. For example, the flats in St Agnes Close have a majority of private owners and as such they can take control of the block by buying the freehold. It is surprisingly affordable to do this (see thread on freehold). If the estate subsequently has a majority of individual freeholders, then the residents can decide on management/social housing, communal areas etc.. rather than any third party. In my eyes, this would be the best outcome.

My partner, Sharlene Goff writes for the FT and has written a few articles on freehold ownership. She has also been in contact with the property correspondent over the matter. There is an article in "Property Week" about it : http://www.propertyweek.com/story.asp?sectioncode=297&storycode=3156945

Jim.

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Re: Proposals to sell Crown Properties

Post  RayAtPennethorne on Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:33 pm

If for example either of the St Agnes or Pennethorne Close multi-occupation blocks were able to organise themselves into buying the freehold, would they:-

i) Have to take responsibility (buy the freehold) for those residents at current renting from The Crown within the building? Or viewed from the other direction would the current tenants then have the private “consortium” as their new landlords?
ii) Have to organise something concrete as regards access, as they would find themselves as an "island" in the midst of private property? Would "for instance" the visitors parking bays be included in the "sale / purchase?" Indeed would any land outside the building footprint (from building edge to Victoria Park Road pavement, including boundary demarcation, for example) be included in the change of ownership. (Just how much of the "estate" would the new owners have to "sort" for themselves?)

If the estate "fractionates" I can foresee a life of arguments as to who is responsible for what, with the consequence of nothing getting achieved. (More so, than it is now between the Crown & Lamberts.) Don't forget the roads are NOT council adopted!!!! Could the "privateers" then be charged for estate road use / repair irrespective of where & when?

Sorry, my personal opinion is that the splitting up the estate would ultimately cause more disagreement & grief than advantage, & would soon find itself in a run-down condition as a consequence.
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Re: Proposals to sell Crown Properties

Post  hayvis on Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:59 am

Unfortunately, I think that the estate needs a collective lawyer acting in our interests, as the information that we need and course of actions that we could take are very complicated. At the moment, the only information available to the residents is through the Crown Estate Commission and this is obviously going to be biased. I am looking forward to the meeting on 18th.

I have been wondering whether we would qualify for legal aid concerning this matter. I'm hopeful that the Residents committee is looking into our legal position.

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Re: Proposals to sell Crown Properties

Post  marynik on Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:54 am

Sorry not to have contributed earlier. Mary has been in hospital with pneumonia.
The Residents' Assoc has got off the mark really speedily. We assume you have lots of campaigning ideas. These are a few that occur to us, for you to check off as "done already".
1 Politicians to lobby. (i) Borough and GLA councillors. (ii) MPs for the constituencies that include estates. (ii) MPs on the Communities & Local Government Select Committee (it covers housing). (iii) MPs on the Select Committee that covers the Crown Estate. (The Parliament website isn't easy to use so we've not found it.)
This isn't because these politicians are any use. (Hillier? Galloway? Need we say more?)It is to enable us to say we've done it as part of our publicity.
2 Trade unions. The PCS union represents staff in the Crown Estate. Nik is a retired member and has some contacts. The other union is Prospect/IPMS. The union reps can say things that individual civil servants can't.
3 Press. Penny Wrout, who was a reporter who covered the Harry Stanley killing for the London BBC, is now a commissioner for BBC South East. Try penny.wrout@bbc.co.uk
4 Petitions. (i) The No 10 website has a mechanism for posting petitions. We were involved in the one to get a memorial to Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube.
(ii) There is a way of petitioning the Queen. Royalty was instrumental in stopping Margaret Thatcher privatising the Royal Palaces and Parks.
Both these are things that people can get involved in.

Your 2nd circular says that Paul Clark comes from the Church Commissioners. We have old PCS links with Church Commissioners' mates and will see if there's anything useful available.

Nik Wood & Mary Pimm
6 Gore Road
020 8986 8777

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Re: Proposals to sell Crown Properties

Post  hayvis on Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:29 am

Here's a couple of links to the Church Commission sell off. :

http://www.cofe.anglican.org/news/pr4105.html

http://www.cofe.anglican.org/news/pr1706.html

Paul Clark seems to be using exactly the same rhetoric in selling the Crown Estate freeholds as he did with the Church Commission. We can probably work out his strategy by looking at his past in depth.

As I mentioned before, A Social Housing Authority could be a very bad thing for the estate because of legal loopholes that they are entitled to. As can be seen, the housing groups that brought the Octavia Hill Estate from the Church tried to immediately sell off a large chunk of the freehold. This is because as a social housing group they did not have to consult residents on an immediate re-sale. There are also loopholes that entitle Social Housing to develop and redevelop. The character and nature of the Crown Estate is at great risk if this strategy is implemented. In many ways if there was to be a sale at all, a private company would be better; they have to be more honest with the existing tenants/leaseholders. Link :

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/content/news_syndication/article_060419octaviahill.shtml

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Re: Proposals to sell Crown Properties

Post  ih8thece on Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:33 pm

I've been a tenant since 1993. The culture of the CE seems to have changed since 2003 - and since Roger Bright took Executive positon, and Giles Clarke moved into the office of Head of Finance. Management culture seemed to deteriotate to a level where I felt we are regarded as a subsidied infestation of piggy bank property and that we should be constantly reminded to be scrapingly grateful - considering 'supply & demand'.

From the last 7 years experience I do not trust anything that is said by the CE and even less in writing - so all this guff about things remaining as they are simply do not convince me.

More than stop the sales, of I hope the backlash will publicly highlight their huge failings in every area except the greedy commercialism and contempt of undervalued communities.

Re. the recent Telegraph reports on land monopolies for sustainable fuel development - Perhaps inform City Hall Green party candidates, Jenny Jones and Darryl Johnson, as well as Mayor, Boris and ex Livingstone.

The recent article on poverty in London (London Eve. Standard Tues 2nd), which was supported by Prince William and celebs included a comment "one place to start would be by helping the people who can help"... key workers play an essential social role in helping all Londoners and London to function. T
axing the rich would include overvalued overpaid people like bankers and the board of the Crown Estate.
Look how much they earn: pale
http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/annual_report/governance/remuneration.html

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