Tenant FAQs

Tenant FAQ's
Scroll down to see questions specific to both Old and New Barnsbury. 
Why are you undertaking this project now?

We believe that the estate needs attention and investment. It has provided a home to many people since the first buildings were constructed on it over 80 years ago and we want to ensure it can continue doing so for the next 80.

We know from our consultation programme that there are a large number of households on the estate that are overcrowded and that many of the homes fall short of residents’ requirements – in particular through a lack of storage space, old kitchens and poor layout, damp and poor Insulation. Feedback from our consultation so far also shows that many residents feel the open space on the estate does not provide good quality areas to play, exercise or enjoy.

As well as ensuring the estate can continue to offer existing and future residents a high-quality and safe living environment, we believe that it is necessary to address some of the more deep seated and structural problems with buildings on the estate – particularly on New Barnsbury (those parts of the estate that were built in the 1960s).

Tenants living in Old Barnsbury (brick buildings built in the 1930s between Barnsbury Road and Charlotte Terrace) are suffering from issues such as condensation and black mould, old kitchens and bathrooms. On Old Barnsbury we believe we can resolve these issues whilst minimising disruption to tenants through a wide-scale refurbishment programme.

What are the proposals for the Barnsbury Estate?

In brief, our proposals are to refurbish Old Barnsbury, redevelop New Barnsbury and undertake comprehensive programme of works to improve public spaces on the estate and create a new, larger community centre. The detail of these proposals will be developed with residents through our consultation programme. Residents will need to vote in favour of these proposals in the residents’ ballot for them to progress. 

Old Barnsbury refurbishment: This will involve internal improvements for tenants alongside improvements to the buildings’ structure and communal areas. The outdoor spaces will be transformed into more green, usable and secure areas for all residents to enjoy. Refurbishment does not require any demolition of buildings on Old Barnsbury. 

New Barnsbury redevelopment: This means the blocks on the New Barnsbury area of the Estate will be demolished and rebuilt. Redevelopment will enable us to create new homes for existing residents that resolve the problems that have been raised with us, some of which are listed under point 1 above. As well as re-providing homes for existing residents we will be able to provide additional homes for both social rent and private sale, Newlon are committed to delivering 50% of the new homes on the estate as affordable homes for Islington.

The creation of new, private sale homes on New Barnsbury will fund the improvements that Newlon will be making elsewhere on the estate (landscaping, community space and refurbishing Old Barnsbury)

Refurbishment of Old Barnsbury and redevelopment of New Barnsbury will enable Newlon to provide a long-term solution to the problems that many residents are experiencing with damp, condensation, poor sound and heat insulation, which cannot be resolved by our ongoing maintenance programme. It will also bring a once-in-a-generation opportunity to solve overcrowding across both Old and New Barnsbury.

How many new homes will you actually be building?
  • The current Masterplan shows approximately 900 to 950 total homes being built on New Barnsbury. There will be approximately 542-592 new homes built in addition to replacing the 358 existing homes for residents. At least 50% of new homes will be affordable, including rented and shared ownership homes.

  • This is in addition to the 275 homes on Old Barnsbury which will be refurbished.

Do I live on Old Barnsbury or New Barnsbury?

Old Barnsbury: This is defined as the 1930s brick buildings situated between Barnsbury Road and Charlotte Terrace

New Barnsbury: This is defined as the more modern buildings built after the war, that are between Charlotte Terrace and Caledonian Road, including the two blocks next to the canal on Carnegie Street.

Please see below for a full list of blocks on the Barnsbury Estate:

What is the Estate Ballot?

An estate ballot is a new policy introduced by the Mayor of London and applies to landlords that seek to regenerate an estate.

The result will be determined by a simple majority of residents who vote Yes or No. Residents will vote on Newlon’s proposals as set out clearly in an Offer Document before any work can go ahead or a planning application is submitted to a local authority.

All named tenants of the Barnsbury Estate (and resident leaseholders who fulfil residency requirements) will be eligible to vote in the ballot. It will be run by a specialist, independent company, to make sure it is a fair vote.

The Offer Document and the vote will be on a proposal for the whole estate. It will be a simple Yes or No vote on this proposal. Newlon is engaging with residents of the estate to ensure that the proposals reflect residents’ wishes before the ballot takes place.

When would the first new and refurbished homes be ready?

Due to Coronavirus we can confirm the planned residents’ ballot has not been able to take place in Summer 2020 as previously planned, but we hope to rearrange later in the year.

If the ballot is successful the key timescales will be:

  • Summer 2021: We submit our planning application
  • Summer 2022:
    • We start phase 1 of refurbishment works for Old Barnsbury
    • We begin phase 1 of the redevelopment of New Barnsbury
  • Late-2024 to early-2025: The first residents move into their new homes
What are the benefits to the estate as a whole?

Newlon’s proposed refurbishment and redevelopment option would bring improved security throughout the estate with new walking routes, accessibility, CCTV and lighting.

Our proposed, newly-landscaped outdoor space would create improved green areas, parks, play areas for children and sports equipment for all ages to use. We are also proposing to create a new, larger community centre and community gardens for residents of the estate.

There are different types of tenancy arrangements on the estate, will rights be protected for those with different agreements?
Residents who transferred from Islington will have rights that newer tenants do not necessarily have. From the outset Newlon are committed to protecting existing tenancy rights for all tenants irrespective of residents’ decision through the ballot.
Will my rent increase?

If any redevelopment were to proceed, Newlon is committed to social tenants’ rent remaining at the same level for a home with the same number of bedrooms. Rent will continue to be set by Newlon as set in your current tenancy agreement.

Will I have to leave my home?

We understand the disruption moving home can cause and have created the following plans for New and Old Barnsbury tenants to minimise disruption as much as possible. If you have any questions about this, please get in touch with the project team using the contact details at the bottom of this document.

If a redevelopment of New Barnsbury goes ahead most residents of New Barnsbury would only need to move once – i.e. straight from their old home into their brand new one.

The only exception to this could be a limited number of residents whose homes are redeveloped in the first phase.

A phasing strategy will be developed to show residents of New Barnsbury which phase of work their block is in. This strategy will be developed as part of our consultation with all residents and this will be included as part of the ‘Offer Document’ which will be published before the ballot.

We intend that residents should not have to move because of refurbishment works in Old Barnsbury.

In discussion with residents, we will work up a plan to minimise the impact of refurbishment works on Old Barnsbury so that tenants can continue living their lives with minimal disruption. In exceptional cases, if a resident feels that the work would be too disruptive we are happy to consider a temporary move.

Will you move any tenants permanently off the estate?

No, not if you do not wish to move off the estate.

Tenants of Newlon who wish to remain on the estate can do so. This will not be affected by the outcome of the ballot and the Barnsbury Estate Transformation process.

Can I move off the estate if I don’t want to stay during the Estate Transformation process?

Yes, you can apply for a transfer through Islington Council. This is subject to agreeing this process with Islington Council.

Can you guarantee my home will be the same size as it is now?

If any redevelopment went ahead Newlon is committed to protecting the rights of social tenants across the estate. This includes ensuring the number of bedrooms in your home meets your housing need.

If, through our housing needs survey, a tenant on New Barnsbury is shown to be over-crowded, they will be offered a home with the number of bedrooms that their household needs. The overwhelming majority of people in this category are families. We are currently aiming to offer this for Old Barnsbury residents, but this depends on Islington Council agreeing to a ‘local lettings policy’ which would allow us to allocate some of the additional new homes to residents of Old Barnsbury.

If a tenant has more bedrooms than they currently need – for example, if their children have grown up and have moved out – then a new property will be offered on the basis of ‘housing need plus one’. This means that, for example, a couple living in a two-bedroom flat will still be offered a new two-bed flat, whilst a couple living in a three-bedroom flat would be offered their needs, plus one bedroom – e.g. a new two-bedroom flat.

All of the new homes built will comply fully with the Mayor of London’s London Plan guidelines for design and quality of homes, including guidelines for space.

What opportunities might there be within your proposals for families with adult children living on the estate?

We understand that this is an important question in some of the estate’s households, where young adults are looking for the opportunity to move into their own home.

We want to do what we can to help adult children move into their own home, where they wish to. We are looking to agree a local lettings policy with Islington Council, which would allow for choice and offer opportunities for older children to be re-housed, if this is what they would like.

If one or more of my children have special needs will this be taken into account through the number of bedrooms in the property I will be offered and any requirements to the layout of my new home?

This has been raised with us by a number of households during our engagement programme so far.

We want to do what we can to help families in this position. If you are being re-housed Newlon will discuss with you the needs of your whole family, including occupational therapy assessment.

Will my service charge increase?

Newlon is determined that the redevelopment and refurbishment of homes should tackle the estate buildings’ long-term problems, which currently add pressure on service charge costs.

We want the new estate to be of a high-quality design with high-quality materials to improve residents’ lives and, through the reduced need for maintenance, to minimise service charges. 

Newlon is also committed to new and refurbished properties on the estate being more energy efficient, which will reduce fuel bills.

What will happen to the outside spaces?

The landscape of the Estate across both Old and New Barnsbury will be transformed including improved green spaces and play provision, better accessibility, new bin storage, estate-wide CCTV and improved lighting.

On Old Barnsbury the outside environment will be renovated and the introduction of a new bin system will create more useable, clutter-free courtyards. Existing green spaces and play equipment will be drastically improved.

On New Barnsbury a new community centre would look out over a redesigned park next to Carnegie Street which will include new planting, new play and sports equipment for tenants of all ages.

What materials are going to be used in the construction of the new homes?
  • We recognise that materials and quality are an important issue for residents and the brief has always been that this will be a high quality scheme which will last.
  • We will devote more time to discussing this with you in detail at a future workshop after Workshop 7 and are very keen to hear resident feedback on the materials you would like to see.
  • New blocks on the scale of what is proposed at New Barnsbury will normally be constructed from a concrete frame and finished in brickwork.
  • We do not intend to use any plastic or metal cladding on any buildings at Barnsbury.
Will we have the opportunity to common on the proposed doors and windows?
  • We will be consulting with residents on doors and windows, plus other detailed elements of the design of new homes, as well as the proposed window and door replacements on the Old Barnsbury
Will bedrooms be sized differently – will we see more ‘box rooms’ in new homes?
  • All new bedrooms will be suitably sized fully consistent with the modern space standards.
  • All new single bedroom sizes are fully designed with furniture layouts (wardrobe and desk) fully demonstrated as fitting.
  • Sizes of bedrooms in the Old Barnsbury are proposed to generally remain as existing. These proposal include for changes in size to the kitchen and bathroom areas.
Will I have an electric or gas hob?
  • All of the new appliances in the new homes will be modern and comply with current standards. We envisage that the hobs will be electric. As part of our environmental aspirations for the scheme we are reviewing how the development can be gas free. 
  • The Old Barnsbury new kitchens will also be designed with modern appliances and general kitchen use in mind (such as requirements for ovens, kettles, toasters etc).
Will there be a shower in every home?
  • To comply with Building Regulations all bathrooms will be fitted with an over bath shower.
  • Wheelchair adaptable and accessible flats will have a shower option.
  • The OId Barnsbury new bathrooms will also provide a showerhead over baths. There will also be an option for residents to have a large walk in shower instead of a bath. Each resident of the Old Barnsbury will be consulted and provided with the bathroom configuration options prior to any works commencing.
What is the date of the ballot, and why does it keep shifting?
  • Due to Covid-19 the ballot date has shifted to allow the time required to meaningfully engage with all residents across both Old and New Barnsbury in light of the pandemic.
  • We are now in the process of procuring a joint venture developer partner who will work with Newlon to develop the scheme if the majority of residents vote yes in the ballot. We want residents to have the opportunity to meet the prospective developers and to be involved in the selection process ahead of the ballot. This is another reason that the ballot date has been pushed back. 
  • The ballot is currently scheduled for early in 2021, but we will ensure that any further changes are communicated to everyone on the Barnsbury Estate to ensure that they are informed of when this will be taking place.
Will you remove the fences around the green spaces now?
  • During the course of the consultation so far it has been quite clear the residents would like to see these areas opened up and Newlon are more than happy to explore the possibility of opening these up. This is something Newlon will take away to review. 
  • We are also aware that whilst people do want these areas to be opened up in the long-term as part of the Masterplan, people are also concerned about safety and security of the area and so this is something that will be carefully considered when developing proposals for both Old and New Barnsbury.
Will there be wheelchair access throughout the new proposals?
  • All wheelchair homes will be accessible. Some wheelchair homes will be located on the ground floor, while some others will be located on the upper floors with access to two lifts.
What provisions are there for wheelchair access?
  • The layouts of all wheelchair homes in New Barnsbury will be designed to meet the requirements outlined in the Building regulations, making all homes accessible and wheelchair-friendly to occupiers.
  • As part of the planning process an Occupational Therapist will be consulted on the proposed WCH layouts.
How will you mitigate the construction impact on residents?
  • We won’t be working on all of the blocks at the same time as the construction will be phased to reduce the impact on residents as much as possible.
  • Newlon are very conscious of the possible impact on residents and so they will be carefully and sensitively managing the construction works and ensuring that residents’ needs are taken into account. 
I am currently on an assured residency contract, will I be on the same contract in my new property?

We are committed to ensure that they will retain the same rights. If you are on an assured tenancy now, you will continue to be an assured tenant.

How many bedrooms will the family houses be?

There will a range of New Barnsbury family homes available which will have a mix of bedrooms, in line with the housing needs of existing residents.

If a tenant swaps with somebody else can they return to the estate?

If a tenant swaps with someone and moves off the estate, the tenants they swapped with will become a Newlon tenant and will be offered rehousing.

What are you doing for large families e.g. more than six people? Will the transformation accommodate these families?

There are lots of different homes provided as part of the Masterplan. The Housing Needs Survey identifies each residents’ specific needs such as number of bedrooms required, and will be continually updated to reflect the latest need of residents throughout the life of the transformation plans for Barnsbury. Tenants will be notified of their Housing Need prior to ballot.

Would I be able to choose what type of building I am able to live in in the new Estate, i.e. ground floor, quiet street?

We want to ensure that all residents have their needs taken into account and we will try to accommodate them as much as possible. We understand that every resident will have their own preferences for the type of home they are allocated, it’s location, what floor it’s on and other criteria. Not everyone can live on the ground floor or by the canal, for example. However, the needs of all residents must be assessed on balance, for example if all residents request a ground floor flat, this will not be possible.

Will a programme of works be available and how far in advance will this be available?

We will make sure that information about the phasing of work for both Old and New Barnsbury is shared with residents so they know when the works will be taking place on blocks, including when blocks on New Barnsbury are being planned for demolition. This phasing will be made available in advance of the ballot, but is subject to change.

Are we going to be able to choose our temporary accommodation?

A small proportion of residents within the first phase will be required to move into temporary accommodation until their new home is built. We are committed to ensuring that all other residents in all subsequent phases move directly from their existing home into their new home with no need for temporary accommodation. We will try and accommodate residents as much as possible, however, the temporary accommodation may be driven by what vacant homes are available on the estate or within the local area at the time.

Can the Pultney Street public space be made for residents only?

We will continue to discuss the open streets and public spaces with residents to strike a balance between private spaces and public spaces. 

It is important to note that having more people in open streets and areas of public space and designing buildings that have windows looking out on to these spaces will improve safety and security in these areas.

What are you doing about safety for the residents if the estate is going to be more opened up?

We will make sure that there is more safety on the estate for residents and their property. Improved CCTV will be introduced to improve safety and reduce anti-social behaviour across both Old and New Barnsbury.

By having more people in the open and public spaces and designing buildings that have windows looking out on to these spaces will improve safety and security in these areas.

We will continue to discuss the open streets and public spaces with residents to strike a balance between private spaces and public spaces.

Can the community park be used for residents only? We will have to pay for it and any damage caused.

We will be presenting a lot more detail on the parks and open spaces in Workshop 8 and we want to ensure that there is a balance between providing new public spaces that are suitable for existing residents as well.  

Further details on the Service Charges will be provided in the Offer document that will be issued to residents ahead of the ballot.

Can there be a work hub where people can work from home?

This is a really great idea, especially in the current climate, and something we will consider and look at in the designs of New Barnsbury homes. The community centre may be able to accommodate something of this nature.

You are building 950 homes. How are you going to cope with all the new residents?
  1. We are working closely with Islington Council to ensure that the masterplan provides the required number of homes for tenants and residents leaseholders. In addition, the masterplan will also deliver a number of new homes, including 50% affordable homes, to help meet the housing shortage in the Borough and across London.
  2. It is important to remember that this will not happen overnight – if agreed the Masterplan will come forward over a period of time to ensure that the changes are gradual over a number of years.

As part of the planning process with Islington Council, which will happen if the residents’ ballot is successful, Newlon and Islington will discuss local services and transport and how Newlon contributes to these to ensure the area works for new and existing residents.

Will residents get first choice of the blocks before new people come in?
Our priority is to ensure that current residents needs are met, and first allocations will go to people who need to be rehoused, which will work in conjunction with the phasing plan across the development.

However, it is important to remember that on a scheme of this size we will need to start opening things up to new residents as well.

Old Barnsbury Tenants
What are the benefits to tenants of refurbishment to Old Barnsbury?

A full refurbishment of Old Barnsbury would, if the ballot is successful, deliver a number of benefits, which are listed below. Under our proposals these would be funded through the creation of new homes for sale on New Barnsbury. Tenants would have input and choice with options on paint colour, fixtures and fittings. It will be completed to the highest quality of finish and design.

Homes – Internal

  • New bathrooms
  • New kitchens
  • New heating
  • Rewiring
  • Ventilation system upgrades
  • New flooring finishes to kitchens and bathrooms
  • Redecoration of walls within a room substantially refurbished
  • Smoke and fire detection improvements

Communal Areas

  • New, useable landscaped areas 
  • New windows for all homes
  • New front doors for all homes
  • New floor coverings for communal areas
  • Improved cycle and bin storage
  • Improved play areas
  • Better lighting
  • Improved security
  • Improved entrances and communal spaces

Buildings

  • Roof repairs
  • Extensive, wholesale repairs to the external brickwork for the entire building
Why are you not redeveloping Old Barnsbury?

The buildings that make up the Old Barnsbury area of the estate are of a much better architectural quality than those in New Barnsbury and are structurally sound. In addition, because of their proximity to the neighbouring conservation area, Islington Council are unlikely to permit their demolition. Whilst work is needed on these buildings to address long-term issues, such as damp, this can be achieved through refurbishment which will minimise disruption to the people living there.

How will you manage the refurbishment of Old Barnsbury?
  • We will carefully plan the refurbishment works to minimise impact on residents. We are currently planning the works to provide residents the comfort of remaining in their properties throughout the works.
  • This will be arranged with tenants and any resident leaseholders who wish to buy into the works on an individual basis.
  • We do, however, recognise that in some exceptional cases the disruption of works may be too much for a resident, and that a temporary move is necessary during the refurbishment works to Old Barnsbury. This will be dealt with on a case by case basis. We will discuss with every household the best way forward.
How will you improve my kitchen on Old Barnsbury so that it is better suited to my needs?
  • The Old Barnsbury refurbishment will provide reconfigured kitchen layouts, where possible, to increase the size of the kitchen.
  • New kitchen units will be included to provide better storage and all appliances will be safely removed and re-installed.
  • The new kitchen layouts will be specifically designed to allow for usable space of cookers, fridge/freezers, as well as power outlets for typical worktop appliances (such as kettles, toasters etc).
What are you doing to improve storage in Old Barnsbury?

We understand that storage is a key factor for the Old Barnsbury refurbishment, alongside works to kitchens and bathrooms. Storage solutions will be considered for each flat layout type as well as each resident’s need and enjoyment of their home. 

There are a range of different home types and layouts across Old Barnsbury. Following a successful Ballot, we will speak to residents about their individual needs to find a storage solution, wherever possible, that best suits the needs of tenants and the layout of their Old Barnsbury home.

New Barnsbury Tenants
What are the benefits to tenants on New Barnsbury?

Tenants on New Barnsbury would, if the ballot is successful, receive a new home in a redeveloped New Barnsbury. Homes will be appropriate for your housing need and will be built to modern space standards to the highest quality of finish and design.

Tenant choice:

  • Layout: During our engagement programme we have received a number of comments from families about the layout of their homes. We are looking at options for resident choice over layout in redeveloped New Barnsbury properties. It may be possible to offer choice over open plan or separate kitchens in family-sized homes in New Barnsbury. We will confirm details of the choice that could be made available as soon as we can.
  • We will also be able to offer tenants options for fixtures and fittings. We will provide further detail on the range of options as soon as we can for discussion with residents.

Tenants of Newlon are guaranteed the right to remain on the estate in a new home that meets their ‘housing need’. In particular, one of the key aims of this project is to solve the issue of overcrowding that is affecting many families on the estate.

Will my new home be on the same part of the estate?

If redevelopment works are progressed on New Barnsbury, it is likely that current tenants may, post-redevelopment, live on a different part of the estate to where they lived previously. Newlon remains committed to working directly with tenants throughout the ongoing consultation process to understand individual needs and requirements, including location on the estate, and doing what we can to meet these needs.

Tenants will be given a phasing schedule in the Offer Document before a residents’ ballot. This will show which blocks are in which phases of construction and indicate when and where tenants could move to. 

When new homes are assigned residents will be able to state their preferences on matters such as location. Newlon will create an allocation system which is fair and enables tenants to have as much choice as is practically possible. Residents’ choice in allocation will be covered by the Residents’ Charter.

Will you increase the density of New Barnsbury?

Newlon’s priority is to build new homes for existing residents on the estate. Tackling issues that residents have raised with us, such as overcrowding and a lack of storage will require us to build more and often larger homes within New Barnsbury.

Our proposals also involve building additional homes for both social rent and private sale within New Barnsbury. This is necessary in order to cross-fund the improvements that we are seeking to make to the estate, such as the refurbishment of New Barnsbury, new landscaping on Old and New Barnsbury and the provision of more affordable homes for the area.

It is our intention that new development on the estate should be in keeping with the heights of local buildings. Exact heights of the new buildings will be developed when we know what capacity is needed, this will be made clear by the Housing Needs Survey which is still underway.

A key factor for us is that the transformed estate should improve the quality of the built environment for residents as part of an overall improvement to their quality of life. As we progress the development of our plans we will provide further information about the buildings, their massing, their design, the materials we will use and the public/green areas to help you understand what the new estate will be like.

Will these new blocks result in a loss of light or privacy?

Light and privacy are key components to a person’s quality of life and our designs for New Barnsbury will ensure that residents have access to both. Newlon and the architects PTE will undertake regular work and studies with light specialists throughout the process.

In addition, tenants’ rights to privacy and light are protected by planning laws, which of course this project will adhere to. We will continue to discuss with residents how our proposals will bring light in homes on the estate and protect residents’ privacy.

Will there be family homes in the new canal-side blocks? Will I get to stay in the canal-side area?
  • Newlon are committed to creating a range of homes in all new blocks across New Barnsbury.
  • The demolition and construction of these homes will be phased in small areas to minimise disruption and to reduce the number of residents who may have to move more than once.
  • This means that it is unlikely you will move into a new home in the precise same area as you currently live on New Barnsbury. However, if you do wish to live close to your existing neighbours we will try to ensure you don’t move too far from where you are currently on the estate.
Will new homes on New Barnsbury be well insulated for noise pollution from neighbours?
  • Modern methods of construction will create blocks that will acoustically insulate better from noise externally and from neighbours in their homes.
Where will New Barnsbury residents be moved to while their phase is being built?

If the redevelopment of New Barnsbury goes ahead after a successful ballot vote, residents who live in New Barnsbury blocks would have to move to enable demolition and rebuilding works to take place. This process is called a ‘decant’.

This ‘decant’ would be phased, so not all residents would move at the same time. We will develop a full decant strategy as part of our consultation process to provide existing residents with as much information as possible.

For the small number of residents who live in blocks in the first phase of redevelopment it is likely they will have to move first into temporary accommodation and then into their new home. As far as possible this temporary accommodation will be in empty homes already on the Barnsbury Estate.

With the exception of the people whose homes are redeveloped in the first phase, most of the residents of New Barnsbury would only need to move once i.e. straight from their old home into their new one.

Although the BEST team will present a full decant strategy ahead of the ballot, this is subject to change as the works progress on the Barnsbury Estate. If there are any changes, we will make sure that all residents are informed.

What are you doing about the cars on Charlotte Terrace?

Charlotte Terrace will still be a street for cars, but improvements to the boundaries, landscape and the planting of trees will improve this street for pedestrians and cyclists.