With one of London’s most famous estates demolished and thousands of new homes and towers rising you may have thought the vast Kidbrooke scheme would have gained a fair bit of publicity, but considering the scope of the project there’s been surprisingly little.
I’ve seen the new blocks from afar many times but thought I’d pop over the document how things are looking. For those who havn’t seen since it was the Ferrier estate it’d be quite a surprise.
New towers are mainly centred around Kidbrooke station, which is currently being rebuilt.
The nearest block in the above photo houses a Sainsbury’s at ground floor and faces onto a new square which is sort of near where the estate’s old main square (Teleman?) was located, if memory serves.
A pub named The Depot is also located beside Sainsbury’s. The name references the site’s history as an RAF base before the Ferrier Estate was built between 1968 and 1972.
It’s already a lively place befitting a town centre near a busy station and a nice place to be on a sunny day.
The old Ferrier comprised of around 2,000 homes in total and lasted less than 40 years before coming down. It was a pretty basic design of slab blocks and towers located around squares. None of the complexity of early stages of Thamesmead, for example, was evident. The walk from the station to the town was an afterthought at best. This will be much better at integrating rail and town.
It also had a library that closed when the estate was demolished around a decade ago and no replacement ever opened. Greenwich Council like to keep that quiet when they state no library has closed as a result of recent cuts.
The new estate, or, err, Village, will total over 5,000 when complete, which is a moving total which generally keeps rising. Earlier this summer Berkeley Homes submitted plans to increase homes in Phase 3 and 5 resulting in an uplift from 1,004 to 1,309 for those stages pushing total homes above 5,000.
The tallest tower of the entire development has recently been revealed and overlooks the development’s main square and park.
This spot was to see a far smaller building in early plans. This below image shows a five-storey building on the site of the tower:
As with much of this development (and most others) that plot saw building’s increase in size as time moved on.
A new station is also being built and will be a pretty basic affair. It’s due to have barriers installed though there’s another ungated entrance on the other platform and I don’t think anything is confirmed to happen there in terms of staffing, and if not then it’ll be a bit of a waste of time to put in barriers in the main building.
In terms of other transport provision there’s newly designed streets – on what is in effect a clean slate – that lack segregated cycle lane. This keeps happening at new developments.
It would be minimal cost to put them in when starting from new with redesigned streets across the site.
Beside the new towers is a highlight of the entire development in the form of landscaped open space and a children’s park. The development is fortunate to have extensive greenery across the site which is wonderfully landscaped.
A children’s play park is extremely popular – and nearby is an idyllic spot to sit and relax.
Whilst the site is a hell of a lot more pleasant these days to spend time and walk around in than it was during the dying days of the Ferrier, it has lot many truly affordable homes. And that’s costing taxpayers big, with the council recently spending over £120 million buying homes off the market to house people. It recently approved buying homes as far out as Medway in Kent.
Homeless costs have jumped from £4 million a year in 2014/15 to £13.1 million last year.
Back to the main square by the station and extensive building work continues to the south. When complete this will then surround the square before work moves onto some of the last major plots.
On a bright sunny day the entire development was a joy to walk through. There’s ample open space beside towers. Much like post-war planning envisaged. However the new square was more meagre than I’d imagined but still a decent space. It’ll certainly be buzzing when the new station opens and the towers become occupied.
There’s much to like about the new development. It’s just a shame so much is so expensive depriving many people – including those in good jobs – the chance of living there.
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