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Latest Aylesbury plans submitted by Duggan Morris and HTA


Duggan Morris Architects and HTA Design have drawn up plans for 120 new homes and a raft of community facilities at the Aylesbury Estate in south London

The plans for Plot 18 within the contentious redevelopment of the estate (1963-1977) have been submitted to London Borough of Southwark on behalf of housing association Notting Hill Housing.

The scheme is on a 1 hectare site previously home to a former Amersham community centre.

Eleanor Purser, director of regeneration for Notting Hill Housing, said: ‘Local residents really pushed our design team to create a scheme that worked for everyone.

‘Thanks to local involvement we think we’ve created a better proposal for current and future residents.’

The scheme includes a north block designed by HTA comprising 122 homes and 225m² of commercial space, plus a community facility including a library, after hours facility, plus meeting rooms.

A south block, designed by Duggan Morris, will include a health centre and an early years facility.

A multi disciplinary team led by HTA Design was appointed to masterplan the £1.5billion redevelopment of the vast estate near the Elephant & Castle in 2014.

The overall plan provides for 3,500 homes, almost doubling the existing density, and got planning permission in April last year.

Work began on the Aylesbury, one of the largest housing estates in Europe, in the mid-1960s on a 28.5ha site near Elephant & Castle. Designed by Derek Winch of Southwark council’s architects’ department, its 2,759 flats were housed in long slab blocks between four and 14 storeys high.

In 1997, Tony Blair made his first speech as Prime Minister on the Aylesbury Estate, to demonstrate his commitment to improving life for the poorest in society.

Last year, a block on the estate was occupied by a group of housing activists protesting against the demolition of the estate and the gentrification of London. The regneration of the estate has also become a rallying point for campaign group Architects for Social Housing (ASH).


Readers' comments (4)


    ‘Thanks to local involvement we think we’ve created a better proposal for current and future residents.’

    – Eleanor Purser, Director of Regeneration, Notting Hill Housing

    The Aylesbury Estate, which was completed in 1977, has around 2,700 flats that are home to 7,500 people. Once demolished, these will be replaced by 3,575 new homes, of which 1,470, it is promised by Southwark Labour Council, will be for social rent, a total of just over 40%. However, according to research by the 35% Campaign, Notting Hill Housing, the Council’s development partner, has already substituted 'affordable rent' for 'social rent' on its Bermondsey Spar regeneration. In actual fact, Notting Hill’s contract with Southwark Council contains no reference to social rent. Instead it refers to something called ‘target rent’, which is set by Central Government. Even on its own planning application for the Aylesbury, Notting Hill Trust admits that there will be a net loss of 934 homes for social rent.

    On the Aylesbury Estate, the Silwood Estate, Bermondsey Spar, the Elmington Estate, the Wood Dene Estate, the North Peckham Estate and the Heygate Estate, a net loss of 4,275 homes for social rent has resulted from Southwark Council regeneration schemes. Moreover, as with the Bermondsey Spar regeneration, the 3,168 homes for social rent the council has promised to rebuild are far more likely to end up as ‘affordable’ rents, which means up to 80% of market value, bringing the total loss of homes for social rent to 7,442. In addition, the Greater London Authority has predicted that Southwark will lose an additional 2,051 homes for social rent as a direct result of schemes the Labour Council is currently proposing across the borough. That's a total of 9,500 homes for social rent lost to 'regeneration' schemes.

    At a 2001 ballot responded to by 76% of the Aylesbury Estate residents, 73% voted in favour of refurbishment and against demolition. Despite this, in 2002 the then Liberal Democrat/Conservative coalition Council announced it was going ahead with the redevelopment. Four years later, in 2005, it claimed that the cost of refurbishment was £314.6 million, far beyond their means, apparently. In 2009 Aylesbury Tenants and Leaseholders First made a submission to the Government Inspector on the ‘systematic failings of the Aylesbury Area Action Plan consultation process.’ And last year, at the Compulsory Purchase Order inquiry, Professor Jane Rendell was able to demonstrate that the cost estimate for refurbishment had been artificially inflated by £148.9 million for what Southwark Council called ‘external improvements’. This made-up figure, for which Professor Rendell could find no justification, constituted half the total cost of refurbishing the Aylesbury estate, and made it, said the Council, ‘financially unviable.’

    The total cost of emptying and demolishing the Aylesbury’s 2,500 homes has been estimated by Southwark Council at £150 million. That comes to around £60,000 per home. However, the Council has already spent an extraordinary £46.8 million on the Aylesbury regeneration scheme – £32.1 million on acquisition and demolition, and £14.7 million on management and administration (i.e. their own salaries) – in the process regenerating just 112 homes. That’s an average cost of £417,000 per home. Compare this with the £20,260 per home the Council has spent bringing 611 homes up to the Decent Homes Standard elsewhere on the estate.

    The Taxpayer’s Alliance recently revealed that 5 Southwark Council officers have salaries over £150,000, including:

    – The Director of Public Health, Dr. R. Wallis, on £169,906
    – The Strategic Director of Finance and Corporate Services, D. Whitfield, on £162,489
    – The Director of Housing and Community Services, G. Scott, on £155,945
    – The Strategic Director of Environment and Leisure, D. Collins, on£154,171

    In addition, no less than 28 Southwark Council employees have salaries of over £100,000 per annum.

    Is it any wonder they say they can’t afford to refurbish the Aylesbury Estate?

    Despite all of which, Ben Derbyshire, head of HTA Architects, defended the collaboration of his practice in the social cleansing of the Aylesbury community last November, even going so far as to claim that it was supported by the residents:

    'The decision-making process for appraising refurbishment versus redevelopment of housing requires intensive involvement of the affected community, professional input and a political process to determine the outcome – essentially a balance of costs and benefits. Although we were not involved in the process that led to the decision to redevelop Aylesbury, we have absolutely no reason to doubt the thoroughness of the process that gave rise to the Area Action Plan, which was adopted by Southwark and the residents of the estate as the basis for the redevelopment brief. Indeed we believe this enabled HTA Design as masterplanners, and the team of architects, including HTA Design, Hawkins\Brown, Mae, and Duggan Morris, to develop the adopted AAP proposals into the scheme now approved by the council and supported by the majority of residents.'

    Ben Derbyshire has recently put himself forward as a candidate for the presidency of the RIBA.

    Simon Elmer
    Architects for Social Housing

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  • Ben Derbyshire

    Anyone interested in where I stand on Estate Regeneration should take a look at 'Altered Estates', available on-line, in which I and my co-authors Andy von Bradsky of PRP, Andrew Beharrel of Pollard Thomas & Edwards and Matthew Goulcher of Levitt Bernstein set out our position.

    In our introduction we say:

    'In one corner are those who believe that housing estates belong to those who live on them and only their views should count in determining the future - and increasingly their preference is to be left alone. In the other corner are those who regard housing estates as public assets, which local authorities have a right and duty to use to meet wider needs - including the growing clamor for more homes, at affordable prices, for middle-income households. The views of both camps deserve respect.

    Part of the reason for this polarisation is obvious to those who have been facilitating successful estate regeneration for decades: it revolves around the concept of ‘balanced communities’. A genuinely balanced community will contain a wide range of housing types and tenures for a wide range of households across the spectrum of age, ethnicity, income, occupation and household size. It will also balance the needs and aspirations of all the stakeholders, including existing tenants and leaseholders, and also ‘outsiders’ who would like to settle in the area and invest in it if only the opportunity was there.

    The perception of many existing residents - and their champions in parts of the media - is that estate regeneration is no longer delivering balance: the proportion of affordable to market homes is dwindling, the definition of affordability is shifting, the cost of market homes is soaring, and the buyers of those homes seem like remote aliens - far removed from being ‘people like us who have a bit more money’. They condemn estate regeneration as ‘social cleansing’ and a ‘war on social housing’.

    In our view it is essential that we are clear about the objective of estate regeneration: is it to improve the lives of those who live on and around existing estates, or is it to make more effective use of public land to help solve the ‘housing crisis’ by creating additional homes and widening access to home ownership? Managing and resolving this tension has been a key objective of community engagement for the past 40 years.

    With care, patience and respect we can and should be able to do both. We have managed it in the past, and there are many examples of successful outcomes in a set of case studies in the back of this publication.'

    Copies of the full document can be downloaded at: http://www.alteredestates.co.uk/

    Ben Derbyshire
    Chair, HTA Design LLP.

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  • dominic cox

    “to make more effective use of public land to help solve the ‘housing crisis’ by creating additional homes and widening access to home ownership”

    the modus operandi is then to sell public land for private development, simultaneously shifting the ‘social’ dimensions elsewhere. how is that balancing the community ? nice little earner me old m8.

    owen hatherley writes caustically on this


    also recognise the scramble in town halls to sell as much silver before Jeremy Corbyn takes power, which he will of course, as sure as brexit means brexit.

    the repellant assumption that home ownership is a universal aspiration belies the corporate greed and social injustice behind it, enshrined by the errant shirley porter, and the deceitful blair creature, who reneged on the promise to return capital receipts from right-to-buy for council (not housing association) house building in 1997. 1997 also saw the final demise of sitting tenants rights, so that now everyone renting is at the mercy of the draconian 28 notice to quit - what kind of a society is that you advocate ? a thatcher one of course, and Ben you clearly relish her baton passing to you and the clean, beautiful, ‘designer’ people working with you.

    Of course you are mere pawns in market forces as Jeremy Till has written, drawing largely from Zygmunt Bauman, helplessly a-moral instruments. Our hearts bleed as we need only listen to Ken Loach on the reasons for the housing supply ’crisis’, let alone the ‘demand’ crisis, a global phenomenon. But hear this, from the people who feel insulted, disenfranchised and robbed by your metropolitan elite cohorts in Camden

    “more (architectural) crap in exchange for investment”


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  • the duggan morris image is chilling, and one suspect a little derivative, or do we say borrowed ? E.U.R. in rome springs to mind.

    The herbal healing planters in the foreground signal medicinal benefit, and miracle cure. what jeremy till calls the cancer of slum sink estates has been lanced - every one is well, even the depressed guy gazing into the clean in-chlorinated spring water feature, is soothed by its tranqulity. and for those residents who all now read english perfectly, ‘Health Centre’ scribed in the facade alone suffices: no need for any building behind it, not clinic, nor nurses. The architecture of well being, the great healer of urban ills, is triumphant and beige.

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