Demolition teams are set to move in on one of Britain’s most well-known housing estates.
Today will mark the start of destruction work on London’s Heygate estate, a neighbour of the massive housing development which hit the headlines when Tony Blair went there to deliver his first speech as prime minister.
The dismantling of the sprawling estate in Walworth, south-east London, will get under way as 45t of bulldozing machinery is sent in.
The destruction of the Heygate estate is part of a major £1.5bn regeneration project in Elephant and Castle, an area widely considered as one of London’s eyesores. It aims to transform it into “a brand-new town centre” over the next 15 years.
Southwark Council said the 98 units on the Rodney Road side of the estate will be “carefully and meticulously” dismantled within hours. This will be followed by further demolition in the next few weeks before some of the larger blocks are brought down in May.
The entire estate, which is one of the largest in Europe, will be demolished in less than a year.
Rob Deck, Lend Lease project director for Elephant and Castle, said: “The demolition of the Heygate estate is a major milestone in the scheme to rejuvenate Elephant and Castle.
“This is one of the most significant regeneration projects in Europe and Lend Lease will be working in partnership with Southwark Council to transform this area of London into a vibrant place for people from all backgrounds to live, work and recreate.”
The estate comprises six concrete blocks which, alongside smaller groups of maisonettes, stretch along several roads in Elephant and Castle.
Cllr Fiona Colley, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “It’s hard to describe what a monumentally huge project the Heygate estate regeneration is. What comes next is what so many people in the borough are anticipating - the emergence of brand-new, warm, safe homes for all.”