Saturday, 19 December 2009

Snow on the Heygate

                                          Photo: Johnathon Gales

A couple of new photo essays of the Heygate have turned up in my google news feed, taken during the recent snowstorm in London. The above photograph, taken by Johnathon Gales, is of my old home, Claydon House, with the new 'gateway to the Elephant' the Strada Tower, rising up behind it. His blog, thoughts not thoughts has more photographs.

   What was most striking, aside from the empty windows, was the desolate quality of the Strada. At first I wasn't even sure what it was - the tower was still at the foundation stage when I left last year. From this angle it looks like a giant American flag . . .

Also, more haunting images from Dan Tassell at  Captured City: the bleak beauty of the Heygate Estate

                                          Photo: Dan Tassell

Apperently, some people still live on the estate. These images remind me of one of my last entries when I still lived on the Heygate: Endgame One More Step, when I wrote:

How will it be when the whole estate is empty but for one or two holdouts? How would it be occupy a single flat in a building this vast, to feel the emptiness spreading out through the building at night, to walk down gangways past sealed off flats, knowing no one else’s steps will tread the concrete stairwells – to know the building will soon be rubble?
I wonder how that feels to occupy these hulking empty buildings now . . .


Thursday, 3 December 2009

Weekly (or thereabouts) round-up . . .

I've put off writing this post because even if the deadline came and went Monday evening it is still a little unclear what is exactly is going to happen:

From LondonSE1: Elephant and Castle Deal 'excellent value for money' says Southwark leader.

Southwark Council's executive agreed to a 'heads of term' agreement with developers Lend Lease, which means at least a part of the Elephant development will go through. However, questions remain. Also from London SE1:

Call for Greater Transparency over Elephant and Castle Regeneration Deal

The development would be in six phases. Phase 1 to 5 involve the Heygate, phase 6 the shopping centre. However no timetable has been set for the latter. Demolition would begin on eastern end of the estate, down by Rodney Road (which if memory serves is off the main section of the estate) in February.

It seems that Lend Lease's investment in the 1.5 billion project is small: Lend Lease wins London bid, shares jump.  Though a Lend Lease spokesman later reiterated that Lend Lease is responsible for all six phases of the development, and as such is responsible for investment.

The reaction on the SE1 forum remains skeptical, as few details of the plan and what it will mean for the Elephant and Elephant residents are being released: 

Lib-Dem Councillor Tim  McNally writes:
"I look forward to the bulldozers going onsite in February 2010 to start the demolition, and will welcome the creation of additional new homes of all tenures - including social for rent in excess of that in the current Heygate, shared ownership and private - in what will surely be the revitalised centre of South East London"
To which, one forum member responded:
"All the planned regeneration is going to do is to replace a load of architecturally ambitious post-war social housing slums with some bland early 21st century private rabbit hutch slums."