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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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