‘Don’t kill our estate’, say residents fighting 18-storey tower block plan

By Charlotte Lillywhite, Local Democracy Reporter

Residents have said plans to build a ‘looming’ tower block on their estate, which they claimed could be 18 stories tall, would ‘kill it’.

The authority is considering building new council homes on the northern part of the Lennox Estate in Roehampton under its Homes for Wandsworth scheme, which is set to deliver 1,000 new council homes on land it owns.

The project was started under the old Conservative administration with a mix of tenures, but Labour switched all 1,000 planned homes to council rent after taking over in May 2022.

The council held its second public meeting on the proposals, which are in the early stages of the design process, on February 20.

Presentation boards identified two sites for potential development on the estate – including a tall tower block in the central green space partly where the current games court is, much higher than existing blocks, and homes in Upper Richmond Road. It said there would be no net loss of open space across the estate.

Tony Arthur, 62, who has lived on the estate for more than 40 years, described the plans as “ridiculous”.

“It would affect a lot of people because it changes the whole appearance of the estate and everything,” he said. “We all know people need housing, but come to the table with some common sense.”

Rachel Rixon, 50, who lives in a home opposite the central green space, said the plans would have a “huge” impact on residents’ daily lives.

“I’m standing at my kitchen window thinking at the moment I’m looking out on to trees and things like that, and I’m going to be looking into somebody’s home. We’re already cramped enough,” she said.

Francis Bird, 80, has lived on the estate for 42 years and said the plans would “kill it”. She said the central green space was the “core of the estate, that’s the heartbeat” and she felt residents had been “totally ignored”.

A Wandsworth council spokesman said: “There is a compelling need for new council housing in Wandsworth, from existing tenants who are overcrowded, the 3,600 homeless families in expensive temporary accommodation or the 11,000 on our waiting lists.

“At this stage no decisions have been made. All that’s happening now are discussions with residents as part of a comprehensive engagement process and at least one further round of engagement will be held later this year.

“The council wants to add value to existing estate residents through a comprehensive series of landscaping upgrades that will be agreed with local residents as designs progress in more detail.

“These will include a replacement multi-use games area, new children’s play area and measures to improve accessibility for wheelchair and pushchair users.”

Pictured top: Tony Arthur, on the Lennox Estate, Roehampton (Picture: Charlotte Lillywhite/LDRS)

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