In order for the Council to progress its aspiration to redevelop Catford Shopping Centre, Milford Towers would need to be completely vacated and new homes found for all its secure tenants.
Under a timetable agreed by the Mayor at the Mayor & Cabinet meeting on 11 April 2012, the Milford Towers decant is already underway. By commencing the decant at this time, tenants are able to take advantage of new homes being built across the borough.
Several hundred people currently live in Milford Towers, so from start to finish the decant process is expected to take at least two years. The majority of Milford Towers tenants have formally expressed a wish to move, and so – as expected – the early stages of the programme have been met with an enthusiastic response.
The Council will work closely with Lewisham Homes during the decant period to ensure that the estate continues to be a secure and liveable environment. When tenants move out, their properties where suitable will be utilised for temporary accommodation for people on Lewisham’s housing list. Alternatively, vacated properties may be occupied by licensed ‘property guardians’, or potentially made available for short-term private sector leases.
Milford Towers also includes 22 units owned by leaseholders. The Council will also be looking to take possession of these units once commercial terms for the Shopping Centre redevelopment have been agreed with any key parties who are, or will be, involved. Formal negotiations with leaseholders on this matter will commence at an appropriate time.