(Councillors Olly Wehring and Dave Ryder-Mills discussing the regeneration with a resident from the Cambridge Road Estate)
The Liberal Democrat administration on Kingston Council has committed to giving the residents of Cambridge Road Estate a say on the future of a regeneration project that would have a major effect on their homes.
Towards the end of next year, Cambridge Road Estate (CRE) residents will vote on whether the regeneration should proceed. The vote — or ballot — puts the residents in Norbiton's CRE front and centre in the project, which, if they approve, would see the number of homes on the estate increase to around 2,000 from the current 853.
At a Council meeting in July, Council officers stated that the ballot will cost £450,000. The high figure was queried by Councillors, with a breakdown of the costs showing that the process of the ballot itself will come in at a more reasonable £15,000 – £20,000.
The original sum was based on previous experience of stock transfer ballots — a much more complicated and expensive process. Also, the estimate included paying for activity that would have had to be undertaken with or without the ballot, "in order to work with the local community to ensure they are fully aware of the offer being made to them", the Council's lead housing consultant said.
Emily Davey, one of Norbiton's Liberal Democrat Councillors and the portfolio holder for Housing on Kingston Council, added: "It was clear to us back in July that the quote of £450,000 for a ballot was based on incorrect assumptions. The breakdown makes better sense of the figure for the ballot itself.
"Whilst we are well-aware of the financial pressures facing Kingston Council, and our need to query expenditure at every opportunity, the residents of Cambridge Road Estate deserve to have their voices heard. We will work for them tirelessly throughout the process, ensuring that where the information they receive has been unclear, residents can be assured that the Liberal Democrat Councillors will seek full clarification."
The Cambridge Road Estate ballot will take place in the second half of 2019.