Investigation launched into 'segregated' London garden

image copyrightGoogle
image captionResidents at Westbourne Place say private tenants can access gardens, entrances and a car park, but those from social housing cannot

An inquiry has been launched after some tenants were blocked from accessing the gardens of a multimillion-pound London housing development.

Residents at Westbourne Place, Maida Vale, say private tenants can access gardens, entrances and a car park, but those from social housing cannot.

Westminster Council said the property's planning application included "no condition that allowed segregation".

The council will examine if planning permissions have been breached.

"It feels like like everyone is looking down on us," Ahmed Ali, a social housing resident at Westbourne Place, said.

"My son has a school friend who lives on that private side," Ali said.

"They sit in school together but can't play together. I don't know how to answer when my son asks why he can't go down to play.

"This is open discrimination."

image copyrightAhmed Ali
image captionRedrow said the installation of gates to the garden was "never designed to keep certain residents separate"

Four bodies are involved in running the property.

Property developer Redrow gained approval from Westminster City Council to build luxury flats on the site in 2015, on the condition that 14 affordable rent and shared ownership homes were incorporated.

Pinnacle Property Management now run the private side of the development, while housing association Octavia Housing is responsible for council tenants.

When taking responsibility for the council properties Octavia said access to the garden was "never on offer from the developer," and they did not pursue access in order to keep down costs.

Service charges to maintain the garden "are subject to future increases from managing agents and are difficult to predict," a spokesperson said.

"We would very much like our residents to have access to all the gardens and we think it is wrong that they are restricted in this way. This is not a result of a decision we have made."

The affordable and social housing residents pay more than £200 a month service charge per home.

Mark Parker, Regional Managing Director for Redrow in London, said: "We strive to create inclusive developments for the enjoyment of everyone.

"Octavia, during their acquisition of the affordable homes, sought to minimise service charges for their residents, specifying the areas that their residents would require access to within the development.

"The installation of gates within this scheme was never designed to keep certain residents separate, but rather to ensure that all residents are safe."

Pinnacle, which also manages parking at the site, said in a statement: "We manage the development in accordance with the provisions set out in the leases which were agreed between Octavia and Redrow Homes prior to completion."

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