Who are we?
Alton Action are a non-partisan group initiated by Alton Estate residents and local activists who has fostered the creation of a People’s Plan by the Community, for the Community of the Alton Estate.
Alton Action are not associated with any property developers or property investors – our concerns
are the current and future housing, social and environmental needs of the residents of the Alton
Now is the time to allow the people who call the Alton Estate home a say in its future.
In the aftermath the Covid-19 pandemic and during yet another economic recession, both nationally and globally, we need to focus on the immediate needs of the people and abandon the unsustainable drive for private economic gain.
Looking around us, seeing what is being built and how the people live, it is clear: the ‘housing crisis’ is not one of available spaces but one of affordability. We are seeing the growth in the class divide; a world only a few can comfortably afford to live in, while the majority are struggling to make ends meet.
Why do we need
a People’s Plan?
The Alton Estate is viewed, by some, solely as a lucrative site on the outskirts of one of the most expensive cities in the world. Under its previous administration, Wandsworth Council had embarked on several failed regeneration plans over the last 15 years. Each of these plans had focused on maximising developers’ potential profits, at the expense of the current residents, for example:
a lack of investment in the areas earmarked for demolition, resulting in buildings which have become dilapidated and in urgent need of repair
poorly maintained accommodation with ineffective insulation and inefficient heating, mould and damp
residents living in overcrowded homes
What are our aims?
Our aim is to deliver the improvements that residents need; through collaborative workshops and discussions with residents, we can make sure that their voices will be heard, and their needs met.
We are proposing a community-focused investment that meets the housing, social and environmental needs of the people who live on the estate while maintaining its architectural and cultural integrity. This means:
rejecting the council’s historic Master plans which failed to meet the needs of the residents and proved undeliverable
creating a new People’s Plan for the Alton Estate proposal, in collaboration with residents on the Alton Estate
We have partnered with a research team from University College London along with the Just Space network to co-produce an alternative People’s Plan, which explores the alternatives to demolition.
Our Statement on the Regeneration Plans
Alton Action welcomes the recent decisions taken by Wandsworth Council relating to the regeneration of the Alton Estate, in particular:
The termination of the procurement process for a partner to deliver the Alton Estate Masterplan (2014)
The commitment to invest in and improve the Alton Estate
The review of both the objectives and options for improvements to the Estate
We note that the Council ‘has no predetermined views about the way forward and nothing, at this stage, is ruled in or ruled out,’ and that the Council believes that ‘more should be done to ensure (that) the proposed community buildings meet current and future demands of the area.’
However, we are concerned that ‘nothing being ruled out’ means that a disastrous plan based on mass demolition, huge disruption and intensification of housing is still possible. We are alarmed that the Council’s approach will solely be to ‘call on the expertise of both external experts and officers to identify options’….’to improve the estate and the lives of the people that live there.’ We are also concerned that the ‘first step in (the Council’s) commitment’… ‘to bring forward an early phase to deliver new community facilities and new Council homes’ risks excluding residents and other local stakeholders from determining what is needed first.
Alton Action believes in citizen-led development; through this approach, the lived experience and expertise of residents and other local community stakeholders are used to determine the outcomes and developments that most effectively meet the needs of the local community. Any process to identify options to improve the Alton Estate must be led by the residents of the estate and other local community stakeholders.
We therefore demand that:
A citizen participation process, to facilitate and enable residents and other local community stakeholders to lead the development of options for the future of the Alton Estate, including any early phase development, is established without delay
This citizen participation process is designed to maximise the active participation of residents and other community stakeholders and is designed with and by them, including regular in-person workshops and a physical space where ideas, proposals and announcements can be viewed throughout
The process is supported by Council officers, and other agents that they wish to employ, but led by residents and other community stakeholders
The process is maintained until final decisions about the future of the estate are made
No future options should be considered by the Council before residents and community stakeholders have fully considered, shaped, and commented on them
Residents and community stakeholders are supported to take an active role in the final decisions about the future of the estate