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Newcastle part-demolition threat at Erskine's Byker

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Campaigners are calling for part of Ralph Erskine's world-famous Byker estate to be spot-listed to stop homes being flattened.

Almost 30 low-rise flats and homes half a mile south of the Byker Wall are set to be knocked down after Newcastle upon Tyne city council approved their demolition. They are due to be replaced with landscaping and a car park, with work starting in December.

The 2800-home estate was masterplanned and part designed by Erskine in 1969. Campaigners want English Heritage (eh) to step in to save the four- storey crescent of homes. However the estate has been plagued with vandalism and residents are split on whether the homes should stay or go.

Peter Fauset, a resident of Byker Wall and director for architectural design at the local University of Northumbria, said: 'Erskine wanted to provide relief to the two-storey carpet of homes and these examples are rich in his idiosyncratic style.'

Colin Dilks, secretary of the Byker Wall Tenants Association, sympathised with locals' concerns. But, he said, 'This is a prime example of what the council says we should be developing: a sustainable community. They could, with the right leadership, make it like Barcelona.'

However George Allison, chair of housing at Newcastle, said residents preferred total to part demolition and the homes were impossible to rent because nobody wanted to live in one-bed flats.

eh said an official request for spot listing had been made but that it could take six weeks to decide.

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