ALTON ESTATE

Over 100 council and housing association estates across London are under threat of demolition. Our research shows where they are.

Alton estate

Number of homes under threat: 288

Landlord: Wandsworth Council

Ballot Status: Required

288 homes are earmarked for demolition on Wandsworth’s Alton estate in Roehampton.

Wandsworth claims that demolition is necessary because the design of the buildings is poor and encourages anti-social behaviour.

In 2017, Wandsworth signed a joint venture agreement with developer Redrow for the redevelopment of the estate.

Despite the existing estate comprising an almost even split of social rented and private homes (leaseholders and freeholders), it is claimed that “the limited diversity in housing tenures and high proportion of social housing has inhibited the creation of a genuinely mixed and balanced community”.

Redrow submitted a planning application in late 2019, but in August 2020 it announced that it was pulling out of the scheme. Wandsworth Council went ahead and approved the application despite this in October 2020, giving consent for demolition and construction of 1,108 new homes of which 261 affordable (201 social rent).

In his stage 1 response to the planning application, the Mayor highlighted concerns about lack of consultation (para 36), quantum and rent levels of replacement ‘social housing’ (para 27) and the failure to apply for grant funding (para 39) and the failure to explore alternatives to demolition (para 20).

The requirement for the demolition of housing estates only to be considered as a last resort, is enshrined both in the Mayor’s Estate Regeneration Guidance and the London Plan itself:

All eyes are now on the Mayor, who has the power to ‘call-in’ Wandsworth’s application. This will be a test of the Mayor’s will to tackle Council’s that evade his ballot requirement and who fail to weigh demolition against the significant environmental, social and economic benefits of refurbishment. Comments on Wandsworth’s proposals can be submitted to the Mayor on the GLA’s new planning portal using this link.

In the meantime, estate residents have been getting organised and have received funding to co-produce an alternative Community Plan, exploring alternatives to demolition assisted by a group of researchers from University College London and the Just Space network.

Links:
Roehampton (Alton estate) SPD Oct 2015

Mayor’s stage 1 report

Link to the revised planning application docs (ref:2019/2156)

Redrow’s dedicated website for the scheme - https://www.altonestateregen.co.uk

Local Campaign group - http://www.altonwatch.org.uk


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