Multi-million pound investment announced for estate (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Multi-million pound investment announced for Marlowe Road estate Waltham Forest Council says is no longer fit for purpose
Councillor Marie Pye, Cabinet Member for Housing, talking with resident and steering group member Saeede Aktar on the Marlowe Road estate.
A multi-million pound investment programme has been announced for the Marlowe Road estate after the council said it was no longer fit for purpose.
There are nearly 400 council homes on the Walthamstow estate, most of which dates back to the 1960s.
The council says investment will be made in new high quality social housing, public spaces and the layout of the estate.
The decision, which is still open to a call-in until Friday, was made at a council cabinet meeting last week after lengthy discussions with residents.
The size of the investment and timescale of works are yet to be determined, but it is thought the investment will run into the tens of millions of pounds.
The tender process will begin after the call-in period and should take around six months.
Cabinet meeting documents indicate there will be a new plaza, more public space, existing buildings will be enhanced and the Northwood Tower plaza and surrounding area would be recreated as a destination for eating, drinking and shopping.
A council spokesman said more details will become available as the tendering process advances.
Councillor Marie Pye, Cabinet Member for Housing, said a thorough review helped the council understand some of the issues at Marlowe Road.
She said: “Most importantly it revealed low levels of tenant satisfaction and indicated that issues associated with crime and deprivation were often linked to the quality of the housing provision and the public areas.
“The majority of the estate dates back to the 1960s and the pedestrian walkways and linkages are poor and we found gardens, garages and store sheds are underused.
“In other words we recognised that the estate is no longer really fit for purpose, but also that there is potential for redevelopment.”
A steering group charged with managing the beginning of the process, which is made up of tenants, leaseholders, council officers and representatives from the council’s housing management body Ascham Homes, was set up in 2011.
Saeeda Aktar, a Marlowe Road resident who sits on the group, said: “I think at the beginning there were a lot of people on the estate who felt that nothing would actually happen.”
“For me the biggest thing is making the place more welcoming,” she added.
“At the moment it’s a bit of a maze and people can find that intimidating.”
A council spokesman added that the planned investment will coincide with further improvements to retail outlets on Wood Street and nearby open spaces.
The development is subject to procurement of a development partner and appropriate consents.
It is likely to start in summer 2015 for completion by autumn 2020.
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