Download the NEOgate Master Regeneration plan here: PLAN
Download the NEOgate Master Regeneration plan here: PLAN
Charter for Community Inclusion and a Better Quality of Life for All
In March 2012 a new “‘NEOgate, Regeneration Charter for Community Inclusion and a Better Quality of Life for All” was launched by local people and businesses.
We, the communities and traders of the NEOgate area, are being excluded from the multi-billion-pound regeneration being led by the Council.
The redevelopment of the core area is subjected to a private deal with Space Ltd, who is drawing up the masterplan for the area. No information on the masterplan and none of its details have been given to us since the first Development Framework.
Meanwhile, the Council is building “Early Housing” developments on our much needed open, green and play areas, as well as removing our local amenity shops, garages, residents’ parking spaces and other community facilities.
More then three quarters of the homes in these new developments will not be for the ex-residents Tenants, despite this being an explicit rationale for their inclusion in the NEOgate Plan, but for private sale. We believe that the regeneration process must be fair, just, and socially inclusive, and must provide for affordable housing and a better quality of life for all current and future residents of the area.
Space Ltd., offers a very ‘hostile’ housing offer to the local residents. Indeed, it leads to the crisis of place, where we, pre-existing tenants and traders, are wiped out in the spatial process of capitalist development in the guise of the slogan “live the urban revolution”.
Our specific requests are set out under three principles below.
Principle 1. Open Masterplanning
It is for the Council and Space Ltd. to operate an “open masterplan” policy. Namely, to enter into a development process for the site that is democratic, actively involving the local community. Due to the impossibility to access the masterplan on time, the local community did not have a chance to express preferences and necessity on their future allocation.
Specific actions requested include:
the developers and the Council to hold a public meeting to explain the masterplan, its benefits and how they will involve the local population in future steps of this process.
Principle 2. Benefits for All
To extend the benefits of the regeneration to the existing population, which have been left outside the target of the new development. The regeneration plan aims to provide a habitat for the Bohemian Bourgeoisie (BoBo) and Creative Classes to thrive but it does not include activities and space to permit the re-integration of the previous community.
• To identify how the amenities that are to be lost for the New Housing sites will be re-provided with safe and reasonable access for their user catchments.
• To assure open accessibility or membership to the new facilities (i.e. NEO Art Gallery and Sculpture Park, NEO Cultural Exchange Centre, Private Library and Members Club, Luxury NEO Gym and Leisure Facility) for the community. The demolition of the area has destroyed the communal space of the locals who deserve new possibilities to recreate a healthy environment. Therefore, to guarantee the sustainable strategy for the new buildings to be designed not just for the inhabitants of the new blocks but also to benefit existing residents;
• To undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the entire regeneration area including the Early Housing Sites;
• To commit to keeping all open space as fully public access at all times – no “semi private space” and no restrictions on access to the general public through gating. The area was an essential pedestrian walking route for locals, who would be forced to spend more time walking around the Estate;
• To retain and improve local shops and services reflecting community richness and diversity (this underlines the difficulties that people who lived in the area will undertake to recreate a friendly shopping environment, affordable and tied to the ethnicity diversification that was always a strong point of the neighbourhood).
• To avoid the development of a ‘BoBo ghettoization’ of the area. While pretending to be “creating a quality private/public realm which is safe and inviting, edgy and exciting 24 hours a day; encouraging flow and networking through ‘incident highlights’ – somewhere to contemplate, engage and socialize”, the regeneration plan can only accentuate the gap between the different communities.
• To prevent the creation of an ‘artistic class’ which does not include physical/traditional artistic practices but focuses on the use of new technologies and graphic devices. The new class of socio-media workers does not give the possibility for sculptures and painters to be embraced by the new BoBo’s identity.
Principle 3. Housing that really is Affordable
Recent (early 2011) discussions with the Housing and Communities Agency, indicate that greater public funding will be needed to save the regeneration. In addition, the development plan must fulfil its promise to replace the 1212 Council homes lost by the demolition of the Estate with the same number of social rented units (preferably council housing) in the new developments.
The development proposal offers 25% of Affordable Housing; half of which will be designed to accommodate artists and their practices. The remaining 12.5% of “Affordable Housing” will never fulfil the need to reallocate the community that lived in the area. Tenants should be allowed to move directly to the Early Housing sites or given enough time to find accommodation acceptable to them.
This gallery contains 2 photos.