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Demolition starts on Southwark's iconic Heygate Estate

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The destruction of the Heygate Estate in Southwark, south London, began today (15 April) in the first stage of the site’s redevelopment which is scheduled to complete in 2026

Wrecking tools started work on a 98-unit block this morning as Southwark Council’s cabinet member for regeneration Fiona Colley looked on with ‘relief’.

Deemed ‘no longer an ideal place to live’, the estate had proved ‘increasingly expensive to maintain’, according to Southwark Council. Meanwhile the stairwells and corridoors surrounding the development were a breeding ground for anti-social behavior and crime, it claimed.

The concrete blocks were designed in the 1960’s by architect Tim Tinker and housed more than 3,000 people in their heyday. Today, the estate’s eleven remaining residents have been rehoused.

Demolition of the Heygate Estate in Southwark, south London

Demolition of the Heygate Estate in Southwark, south London

Tinker has criticsed the redevelopment, accusing the council of abandoning the structure. He claims Heygate could have lasted another two decades.

However Colley said Heygate was ‘a definite improvement to what the people had before and was created with the best of intentions’.

According to Colley there are some in the community who remain sceptical, nevertheless she is delighted that part of Elephant and Castle’s regeneration is finally happening. She said: ‘It has taken a long time to get here, to rehouse the existing residents and raise the money to make the deal we did with Lendlease’.

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