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High Court forces Lambeth to rethink demolition of Ted Hollamby estate

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Lambeth Council has been forced by the High Court to rerun a consultation on its decision to demolish a 300-home estate designed by Ted Hollamby, hailed as ‘unique’ by the Twentieth Century Society

Earlier this year, the borough supported the full redevelopment of Cressingham Gardens – the late 60s and 70s low-rise, low-density estate in Tulse Hill, south London – drawn up by Hollamby while he was head of the Lambeth Borough Architects Department.

But a High Court ruling this week found the council had broken the law by prematurely removing three options relating to refurbishment from a consultation with tenants.

Speaking after the ruling, estate resident Eva Bokrosova, who brought the case, said: ‘The council has put me and my neighbours on Cressingham Gardens through absolute agony for three full years since the regeneration was first mentioned.

‘The council has put me through absolute agony’

‘It misled residents into thinking they were being consulted on a possible refurbishment of the estate but really this was just a sham. I believe they only ever had their eye on one goal – full demolition – and that they are motivated by a political agenda rather than what is best for residents.’

The council had concluded in February that refurbishment was unaffordable and that continuing to consult on it would have misled residents.

Matthew Bennett, Lambeth’s cabinet member for housing, said: ‘We are disappointed at this judgement, but we will fully comply with the judge’s decision.

‘We will take a report on the proposals back to cabinet as soon as possible, and residents will have their chance to comment on all the options during that process.’

The authority’s proposals would see the low-rise estate, built between 1967 and 1979, replaced with a more dense scheme of 464 homes, 60 per cent of which would be for private sale.

The campaign to save the estate has been backed by heritage organisations including the Twentieth Century Society, Save Britain’s Heritage and the Brixton Society.

In 1981 the estate was described by Lionel Brett, the former president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, as ‘warm and informal … one of the nicest small schemes in England’. 

Previous story (AJ 04.11.13)

C20 Society calls for South London estate to be listed

The Twentieth Century Society is throwing its weight behind a campaign to list a 1960s housing estate in Brockwell Park, South London.

The late 60s and 70s low-rise, low-density Cressingham Gardens estate was designed by Edward Hollamby while heading the Lambeth Borough Architects Department.

But, according to the council, many of the properties are in a state of disrepair and last year it warned tenants that prolonged upkeep and maintenance was too expensive and that estate had been earmarked for regeneration.

The estate’s one to four storey homes include a mix of properties ranging from one-bed bungalows to six-person houses set along paved pedestrian walkways that meet in a central green space. Currently a number of the properties are boarded up and others have a range of issues including leaky roofs and severe cracking.

However, Twentieth Century Society senior conservation adviser Henrietta Billings urged English Heritage to list the estate: ‘The 1960s design - which is largely unaltered since it was built - responds to the landscape in a superbly subtle and sensitive way, and it gives residents a public realm that really works.

‘The estate needs refurbishment and maintenance, not wholesale redevelopment,” she added.

At the time of writing neither the Cressingham Residents’ Association nor Lambeth Council was available for comment but a search by AJ revealed no live planning applications for the site.

In Hollamby’s obituary in The Guardian, Jonathan Glancey described the architect as a ‘champion of modern low rise estates built responsive to topography and local conditions’.

Hollamby died aged 78 in 1999.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Two scandals - a crooked council administration, and gross failure to recognise the benefits of repair and conservation (including that of the community) rather than 'clear felling' and replanting.
    If this affair reflects the overall competence and integrity (or, rather, lack thereof) of Lambeth Council, there's a case to be made for it to be put into 'special measures'.

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