Lambeth Council has announced it is taking the controversial regeneration of its 1960s Central Hill estate in south London back in-house after ditching a contractor it had picked to lead the project
The local authority announced last March it had chosen Mace to manage the demolition and rebuilding of Central Hill estate in Crystal Palace.
The construction company was tasked with drawing up plans to revamp the 450-home estate, designed by Rosemary Stjernstedt and the Lambeth Borough Architects Department during the directorship of Ted Hollamby.
However, Lambeth has confirmed it has now decided ‘not to proceed’ with Mace, and will instead be developing the estate under its wholly-owned development company, Homes for Lambeth (HfL).
In a statement, the council said: ’The decision was not taken lightly, specifically given the effort and time put in by residents to progress the appointment of the Development Management Team.
‘Homes for Lambeth, however, believes that significant costs can be saved by managing the work in-house, as well as giving more control on key decisions.’
It added that over recent months HfL had ’established a strong team with significant experience in the building industry’, adding: ’Now we are now fully staffed we are able to begin the serious work of rebuilding Central Hill.’
The council said the next step was to work with residents and architects to develop a viable masterplan for the estate, which has been due for demolition since March 2017.
Lambeth decided to demolish Central Hill, a low-rise estate built dramatically into a steeply sloping site, as it argued that refurbishing the homes would be too expensive.
The demolition of Central Hill, one of five estates in Lambeth’s regeneration programme, has faced opposition from residents, who argue that the buildings need repairs and maintenance but are in otherwise good condition.
In 2016 Historic England chose not to list the estate, a decision criticised by The Twentieth Century Society.
Alternative designs for Central Hill by Architects for Social Housing (ASH) found room for an additional 242 dwellings through infill and roof extensions without demolishing any homes, increasing the estate’s current capacity from 476 homes to 718.
PRP was appointed by Lambeth Council to draw up options for a ‘higher density’ redevelopment of the estate in 2014 but the plans were not taken forward.
The council has also faced criticism for its plans to knock down 306 homes on Cressingham Gardens next to Brixton’s Brockwell Park and rebuild with an additional 252 homes. Residents have been calling for Lambeth to hold a ballot on whether the demolition should go ahead.
A Mace spokesperson said: ’We are naturally very disappointed by the decision taken by Homes for Lambeth after the conclusion of a competitive tendering process which took significant time and effort to complete.
’The successful re-development of Central Hall Estate is critically important to residents and the local community. We wish Homes for Lambeth well in delivering on the promises they have made to local people.’
Outline plan of PRP’s remit on Central Estate [Lambeth]