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Thamesmead

Thamesmead’s next estate demolition announced by Peabody

In recent weeks Peabody have begun to release information and consulting on  future phases of demolishing Thamesmead’s original estate.

This site contains homes and flats located behind the now derelict Corraline Walk, and which they are calling Lesnes Estate.

Homes on right being refurbished – despite imminent demolition

The original Thamesmead development contained 596 homes. The plan, according to this site, is replacement with 1,300 new homes of which 35% will be “affordable homes”. Given most existing homes will be social homes, it looks unlikely there will be any net increase of social homes.

Maybe even a decrease is on the cards; it remains to be seen. “Affordable” is of course very different in cost and a pretty loaded term.

Overview of site

We may see what we’ve seen at another Peabody Thamesmead development named The Reach located opposite Belmarsh Prison. An “affordable” home at that site is valued at £275,000 for a small 1-bed flat. Shared-ownership comes under the affordable banner at that plot, yet involves paying a mortgage then rent of £481 a month and  a service charge of £157 per month.

That’s for a small 1 bed flat – and little use for those with children.

Design

What’s fascinating about rebuilding plans is how much they copy the concept of the original design. For example, it appears undercroft parking will be in place below homes and public spaces. This is one of the design features at nearby Tavy Bridge:

Too cluttered? Too expensive to maintain for decades?

Original designs for Thamesmead were elaborate and expensive. Maintaining them was expensive, and people found undercroft parking uninviting. My earliest ever memory as a child of Thamesmead was being driven there with family and parking under Tavy Bridge. It was grim. Lack of investment was really showing by this time.

Walking to shops through the dark parking area as the waft of piss permeated  corners and broken glass was continually underfoot wasn’t the best introduction. I remember upstairs wasn’t much better around shops with flooding.

Future Peabody block

Later on I became fascinated with the place and was there quite a bit given I lived nearby. I ended up reading a fair bit into its history. It’s funny to have seen all those photos at opening and the optimism. Some really quite good landscaping was in place and incredible buildings like the pyramid centre. It’s all too similar to images and renders now being drawn up. Will it all be maintained 10 to 20 years down the line?

Early designs for new builds

Even the tower looks similar in massing to existing towers with recessed corner balconies. So much so I’m wondering if they are reclad current towers.

Speed of progress

Given this is Peabody, consultation comes and goes with action lagging way, way behind. Other plots such as “West Thamesmead Gateway” have seen little progress in five years. No planning application has yet been made.

New homes by Plumstead gyratory long on the drawing board

The new website reveals people will move into homes at Corraline Walk in 2025/26, despite the entire area being fenced off and vacant for a year now.

Taken June 2019. Vacant – yet another six year wait for homes to complete on this site

It’s reminiscent of other plots at the old Tavy Bridge which were already demolished when Peabody took control of the area six years ago. Only now are they building.

Finally building after nearly a decade vacant

Demolishing the few remaining buildings on site after taking over from Gallions, such as a vacant library, took years despite continual arson attacks.

Peabody are to conduct a ballot of residents into their plans. Voting packs will sent by Friday 21 February. Voting closes at 5pm on 16 March 2020

1 Comment

  1. CS

    Just to clarify, the ballot has been made necessary due to the Mayor of London’s policy – Peabody were originally told those due to move to Southmere Village early 2021 would be exempt due to the progress already made. The MoL has subsequently changed this at this late stage and now those of us who were looking forward to moving to new homes next year may be denied the opportunity.

    It is a severe blow to residents who have suffered the area wide building site for years thinking they would benefit from the progress and now may have to stay in tower blocks which are seriously deteriorating (concrete buildings have a life limit which has long passed); those who are overcrowded in flats could now be left to wait for years (and years!) to get a new home which is suitable for their needs.

    If the majority vote no, then all new homes are to be given to newcomers and those who haven’t lived in the area. If you still wished to move from the tower blocks, you will be denied the opportunity and stay where you are.

    Although it’s upsetting to move out of your home after decades, the tower blocks are now well below modern standards and I assume that in 5-6 years time, we will be going through this whole debacle again as the tower blocks will only continue to steadily deteriorate.

    I fully respect all views, but personally and despite my being originally upset at leaving my home of 30 years, I have to realise that my flat has damp; mould; is draughty despite putting the new windows in (into old frames which doesn’t suit no matter how well they are done); has cracks in the concrete and will only get worse. Progress and life changes are scary, but I really don’t want to be living in this flat in several years time.

    I really do respect not everyone may feel like this, but do I want a few thousand pounds given to me, have all moving costs paid for; have a new home and better surroundings? I can only honestly answer yes.

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