Battersea residents say 'bring on the bulldozers'
Hundreds of homes on a set of council estates could be demolished following backing from
About 70 per cent of respondents to a huge council-led survey said they want to see housing blocks and shops on the Winstanley and York Road estates, Battersea, torn down and replaced.
Wandsworth Council plans to borrow £100m to transform the estates built in the 1960s and 1970s.
The consultation gave three options, with 57 per cent of people selecting the radical option of demolishing all of the buildings apart from Inkster House and Penge House, 724 homes, with about 2,000 new homes built in its place.
There would also be a new library, leisure centre and community centre. Social rent tenants are being offered new houses, while leaseholders can buy into the new development or nearby.
Leader of the council Councillor Ravi Govindia said: “The redevelopment is part of a much wider package of support the council is focusing on the Winstanley and York Road communities.
“Alongside the physical changes we have launched an employment support service to help our residents take advantage of an improving jobs market and a mentoring programme is now up and running to help young adults achieve their full potential.”
Mario De Souza, chairman of York Gardens Residents Association, said the plans will enhance the area, but fears the design promotes a social divide.
He said: “The fear I see is the social housing will be a smaller maintained community, overwhelmed by the professional and foreign investors. There is going to be a social divide. Social housing may consist of three blocks out of 27.”
Leaseholders in Ganley Court also oppose the scheme as they do not want tall blocks hiding views of the park.
Mario Lanni, 73, who has lived in the block for 14 years, said: “I don’t want to move. Change is difficult, at my age I can’t get any mortgage, it is a very difficult.”
Labour Councillor Simon Hogg said: “The Winstanley Estate is in real need of this fresh investment. The key now is to make sure the regeneration delivers homes that local people can actually afford to rent and buy.”
The Kinghan Report published after the August 2011 riots labelled the Winstanley estate in the 1 per cent of worst places to grow up in the UK.
Councillors were set to consider the report at a housing overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Tuesday.
Another consultation will follow and work could start as early as 2016.
See more on regeneration of the borough in our Unlocking Wandsworth series wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/unlockingwandsworth.
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