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Aylesbury estate

ESTATE OF FLUX Tony Blair once cited Aylesbury’s concrete jungle as an example of urban blight. Now it’s becoming a friendly, permeable part of the Walworth cityscape, with residents fully on board and significant opportunities for developers and housing associations to contribute to its ongoing regeneration. Pamela Buxton reports

YOU CAN’T MISS THE Aylesbury. With its distinctive monolithic block (the largest in Europe), the 1960s-70s housing estate – home to more than 7,000 residents – looms large on the Walworth Road and beyond. But fast-forward 20 years to when the ambitious programme to regenerate the area is complete, and you won’t even realise you’ve stepped on to it. Instead, the plan is that it will form just another part of the Walworth cityscape, with the estate itself no longer a separate entity, either by name or by appearance. This massive endeavour is now gathering steam, with the recent appointment of social housing provider L&Q as development partner for the second part of the regeneration plan. Here, on site 7, L&Q will build 147 homes of between one and five bedrooms, to supplement the 251 it is already delivering for the first development site. Southwark Council will begin the process to find a single development partner for the rest of the estate this autumn, with a bidder appointed by March 2014. In all, 4,200 homes will be delivered as part of London’s biggest residential redevelopment, with excellent amenities in place – outstanding education, a renovated park and a new leisure centre, cinema and shopping centre opening nearby. For potential development partners, the proposition offers upfront investment by Southwark Council for a commercially viable scheme, with a strong planning framework in place – and one where CPO powers will be used when necessary. Councillor Peter John, leader of Southwark Council, says that as central London’s largest residential development, the Aylesbury southwarkmagazine.com

offers a huge opportunity to deliver lasting change at the heart of the capital. “We are not starting from scratch; we have already achieved outstanding education in the area,” says John. “We have reopened Burgess Park following major investment. We completed an early phase of new homes and in the next few years, we’ll open a leisure centre, cinema and shopping centre. We want the new area to blend into the wider neighbourhood, with a range of building typologies and design solutions, knitted together by well designed public realm. We want the area to have a buzz and we’d like our development partner to bring forward ideas to deliver more niche developments and bring forward economic opportunities for residents.” “We’re not rebuilding the Aylesbury estate,” adds project director Aelswith Frayne, who is keen for what replaces the estate to be far more permeable to the surrounding community. “We don’t want it to feel like an estate any more,” adds Charlotte Benstead, director of the resident-led charity Creation Trust, the successor body to the New Deal for Communities regeneration organisation. All agree that it’s essential to learn lessons from the mistakes of the past. Reinventing the Aylesbury requires a completely different approach to estate design and tenure, plus a close engagement with the existing community throughout the long regeneration period. To do this, Southwark Council has been collaborating with the Creation Trust, whose representatives have been gathering community input into the redevelopment and to improve residents’ social and economic prospects. ISSUE

9 AUTUMN 2012 51

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Southwark #9  

A high profile, high-quality business publication, Southwark magazine covers every aspect of Southwark Council's 12 year development program...

Southwark #9  

A high profile, high-quality business publication, Southwark magazine covers every aspect of Southwark Council's 12 year development program...