Monday, 15 December 2014

Demolition City: Heygate Estate, Elephant and Castle, Walworth, 'Regeneration', Displacement, Southwark, Lend Lease

The Heygate Estate stood for 40 years as an emblem of Britain’s commitment to genuinely affordable public housing.
By late 2014, it’s a pile of rubble.

Now...the Heygate Estate, reduced to piles of rubble, overlooked by The Shard
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2014

Then...the Heygate Estate in February 2013
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2013

Rubble makers

By Paul Coleman

Completed in the 1970s – and designed by architect Tim Tinker – thousands of people carved out their lives in 1,212 publicly owned homes on the Heygate Estate.
The vast majority were council tenants, with a handful of 'right-to-buy' leaseholders. 
But, for them all, the Heygate’s heydays now only exist as memories.
Southwark Council decanted these tenants. 
Many are scattered to other parts of London and south-eastern England.

Taking over
It's December 2014.
Demolition crews – partly subsidised by taxpayers’ money – have reduced the Heygate’s public housing to small piles of rubble.
A private housing market is taking over from public housing in this shard of south London.
Only 79 of these 2,735 new homes to be built on the Heygate’s 25 acres will be offered at rent levels comparable to council tenancies.

Southwark Council and developers Lend Lease say these new homes will 'regenerate' a failed estate and create a new south London neighbourhood.
People campaigning for more 'affordable homes' and social housing say Southwark Council is simply serving the interests of property developers.
Local residents say this 'regeneration' process, endorsed by the local state, amounts to 'social cleansing'.
Displacing less affluent household who have lived in the Elephant and Castle and Walworth neighbourhoods for generations.
And, replacing them with more affluent UK and overseas property investors.

A full version of this article appears on London Intelligence.

Removed mature trees north of Heygate Street will be 'replaced',
say developers Lend Lease and Southwark Council © London Intelligence 2014

Heygate architect Tim Tinker re-visiting the estate in February 2013
© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence 2013

© Paul Coleman, London Intelligence, December 2014

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