Protest: Get SAVILLainS out of Lambeth!
This Saturday July 30 11am at Savills, 99 Northcote Rd, London SW11 6PR
Why we are protesting
At national level, Savills ‘advised’ the government on drawing up the new Housing and Planning Act, and will serve to directly benefit from the further privatisation of housing provision that it enshrines. Locally…. well:
- Brixton Buzz article: Lambeth Council has appointed Savills estate agent to advise it on registering two new companies that will be Registered Providers of Social Housing (Housing Associations) which will be managed by Homes for Lambeth (HfL), the Special Purpose Vehicle that will allows the Council to act as a private property developer.
- The contract was advertised for only eleven days and is worth around £90,000.
- Lambeth states that: ‘Savills have been contracted to help Homes for Lambeth set up its housing associations. After this is done in around 9 months time Savills will have no involvement in running Homes for Lambeth. This is highly technical work and the Council needs to ensure it is done correctly. A properly audited procurement process took place to appoint Savills.’
- This means that zero public scrutiny has taken place in the awarding of a major contract.
- Speaking at the March Cabinet meeting where Lambeth Council agreed to bulldoze Cressigham Gardens, Neil Vokes, the Programme Director of Housing claimed:
“No residents were involved in the procurement of this deal as it was too technical.”
- This is a best insulting and at worst intentionally deceitful, aiming to conceal the fact that their housing policy is being directly influenced by a private entity whose primary concern is profit rather than the availability and genuine affordability of quality homes for all in the borough.
- What is most shocking, however, is that Melissa Madjitey, the Associate Director of Housing Consultancy and Portfolio Management at Savills, was also the Vice chair of Lambeth’s Leasehold Council, who stepped down from this Council position once she was officially appointed Project Manager of the new Savills’ contract with Lambeth.
- Lambeth’s Leasehold Council (the counterpart to the Tenants Council) is part of the council’s consultation structures for finding out the views of leaseholders in the borough.
- Leaseholder Council (along with the Tenants Council) is the elected body for residents to hold the council to account and represent residents’ interests.
- Therefore it is completely unacceptable for a director of a private company to use those structures to gain access to the Council for financial gain and to shape council policy.
- Brazenly, she intended to continue chairing the Major Works Committee ‘as there is no similar conflict from the Terms of Reference standpoint’, but has since resigned from this position too.
- She also stood down from her position as Chair of Brixton Area Leaseholder Forum
- She is a Horle Walk resident who has sat on a number of Resident Scrutiny Committees thereby obtaining a commercial advantage when bidding for the contract
- Residents at Cressingham have made formal complaints about this ‘conflict of interest’, or to use a more fitting term, corruption, however they have yet to receive a response.
- Save Cressingham: It’s also of note that cabinet member and Herne Hill councillor Jim Dickson is a director of Four Communications, a regeneration consultancy which counts Savills among its clients.
Melissa Madjitey and Savills have no place in Lambeth ‘s ‘Co-operative’ Council and should withdraw from the contract immediately. Lambeth Housing Activists demand that Lambeth Council hold an emergency public conference to consult with RESIDENTS, NOT DEVELOPERS on tackling our borough’s housing crisis.
House should be homes not assets for property speculators.
Architect for Social Housing video about Savills