Council spent £1.7m on estate it plans to tear down

By Grainne Cuffe, Local Democracy Reporter

Lewisham council spent nearly £1.7 million repairing an estate it plans to tear down.

Milford Towers, made up of four five-storey blocks with 276 flats, is set to be flattened as part of the redevelopment of the council-owned Catford Shopping Centre.

The local authority plans to build about 800 homes in its place

But a resident recently asked how the council could justify tearing it down after spending so much on repairs just three years ago.

Resident Adam Longbottom asked how much the refurbishment works to the estate had cost, in a July public question ahead of a full council meeting.

He said: “Can the council justify the proposal to now fully demolish Milford Towers after this expenditure, and why has this been allowed to occur?”

Councillor Paul Bell, cabinet member for housing and planning, said the works set the council back £1,690,059, but that they were vital to keep people safe.

He said: “Milford Towers are managed by the council’s housing company, Lewisham Homes.

“As an arms-length management organisation (ALMO), Lewisham Homes is responsible for the management, maintenance and repair of housing stock within its portfolio.

“Concrete repair works of this kind are not uncommon in a building of this age, and were undertaken for reasons of health and safety.

“These were works identified following evidence of spalling concrete that could present a risk to the public and property.

“Further surveys revealed that areas of concrete were failing across the whole estate including areas over the Catford Shopping Centre.

“As a result, the works were considered to be essential and could not have been left until such time that the building can be fully vacated and demolished in order to provide new homes.

“Previous consultation carried out with residents of Milford Towers found clear support for plans to demolish Milford Towers and provide new housing on this site.

“It is anticipated that this will provide a net increase of about 800 homes on site, providing more family-sized accommodation and new social homes for residents on the council’s housing waiting list.”

A spokeswoman for the council said most of the estate’s original tenants and leaseholders have been rehoused.

She said: “There are a small number of the original tenants and leaseholders remaining who the council are continuing to support should they wish to move or sell at this time.

“When properties become vacant, they are used as temporary accommodation while work continues on detailed plans for the redevelopment of Milford Towers.”

Pictured top: Milford Towers

 


 

Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ


Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.

So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.

Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *