london diary

December 2017

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my london diary

Cressingham Gardens

Brixton, London. Sat 2 Dec 2017

 A 'bold and imaginative scheme' by Lambeth Council architect Ted Hollamby with a number of innovative

 features , construction began in 1968 but took some years in part because of strikes across the building

 industry. The estate was planned by a Conservative Lambeth council of which John Major was a leading

 member and acheived a high density while retaining a feeling of spaciousness with properties having

 gardens as well as open space. Despite praising the way the design responds to its setting, with skill and sensitivity,

 “both in the scale and massing of the built elements, as well as through the integration of these elements with

  informal open spaces which bring a park-like character into the estate” , Historic England turned down its

 ;listing in 2013.

 It is hard to see anything but political reasons behind the failure to list the estate which was ground-breaking

 and in many ways innovative for its time and meets all the criteria for listing.

 Although there is a feelling of spaciousness, it aceived a high residential density of over 250 persons/hectare.

 There are large photographs of residents from an art project on a number of estate buildings


 The estate has a path along its boundary with Brockwell Park


 There are access roads on the estate edges, with some parking under some blocks


 and largely open walkways with only a few places not well overlooked

 It has always been a popular estate, and has a low crime rate for the area.

 Like most council estates it has suffered from poor maintenance, and there are some problems but with gutters

 and land drainage, but bringing the estate up to modern insulation standards and ealing with the problems

 would be a relatively cheap option, costing perhaps aorund £30,000 per dwelling. Demoltion and rebuilding as

 the council plans to do would cost at least ten times as much, and only makes sense in financial terms by

 selling most of the new properties at market value - probably around £800,000 for a typical property here.

 Far more than the current residents can afford - or what leaseholders would get in compensation.

 Developments by councils with privated developers of housing associations seldom result in much if any low-cost

 social housing.





 People are gathering near the Rotunda for a protest march against demolition of the estate as a part of Lambeth

 Council's policy to realise the market value of assets such as this estate. Few of those who live here now will

be rehoused or able to find properties in Lambeth. Lambeth is run by New Labour, many members of a strangely
allowed right-wing group called 'Progress' , a party within the party that has few Labour values, but which currently
controls many London Labour boroughs and has either demolished or has plans to demolish well over a hundred
council estates in a mass programme of social cleansing.

December main page



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