View of the estate from Chiltern House.
|Location||Walworth, Southwark, London, England|
Site 1 - Demolished
Regenerated as Albany Place and Burgess Terrace
Site 7 - Vacated
The Aylesbury Estate contains 2,704 dwellings and was built between 1963 and 1977. There are approximately 7500 residents, spread over a number of different blocks and buildings. The estate is currently undergoing a major regeneration programme.
Although the major problems with the physical buildings on the estate and the poor perception of estates in Britain as a whole, has led to the Aylesbury estate gaining title of 'most notorious estates in the United Kingdom'
What has become somewhat notorious, is that Tony Blair chose to make his first speech as Prime Minister here, in an effort to demonstrate that the government would care for the poorest elements of society. The estate is often used as a typical example of urban decay.
The Aylesbury Estate is an extremely ethnically diverse area, according to the most recent census, around 25% of respondents were White British, with Black ethnic groups accounting for over half of all respondents. Around a third (34%) of residents are of school age, and fewer than 1 in 10 are aged 65 or above. Nearly two thirds of respondents identified themselves as being Christian, with 17% being Muslim.
Construction and decline
The estate was designed by architect Hans Peter Trenton and construction started in 1963. Built on 285,000 square metres the estate was an attempt by planners to house some of London's poorest families. The 2,700 dwellings were designed to house a population of roughly 10,000 residents, making it one of the largest public housing estates in Europe. The estate is named after Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire and the various sections of the estate are named after other local towns and villages in Buckinghamshire including Foxcote, Wendover, Winslow, Padbury, Taplow, Ravenstone, Latimer and Chiltern.
In the 1970s residents in the ground floor flats successfully campaigned for gardens to be fenced off adjoining their flats. The final blocks of flats were completed in 1977 and the estate included a nursery, a day centre and a health centre.
However as old tenants moved out and new tenants came in, the estate went through a period of decline in the 1980s. The area is now considered to be in the bottom category on the ACORN classification for inner city adversity, signifying an area of extremely high social disadvantage. Crime and the fear of crime is a major concern for residents. However, in the major headline grabbing incidents that have taken place on the estate, the perpetrators were not residents of the Aylesbury estate, but had found the architecture of the area conducive to carrying out their crimes. Designing out crime in the new buildings, is certainly a high priority for the Council and Creation Trust and the new development partner.
In 1999 the estate was awarded New Deal for Communities status and given £56.2m of central government funding (over 10 years). It was expected that this money would bring in £400m of housing association funding into the estate as part of a stock transfer deal. A tenant ballot was held on transfer to a housing association which was rejected by 73% of the tenants on a 73% turnout.
On 27 September 2005, the London Borough of Southwark decided that rather than spend £350 million updating the estate to basic living standards they would order its demolition and replace the dwellings with modern houses controlled by a housing association. The plan involves increasing the density of housing from the current 2,700 units to 4,900. 2,288 units would remain social housing and the remainder would be for sale. The sale of these units is planned to fund the whole scheme.
Over the summer of 2008, local residents and members of the community craft group, In-Spire, in conjunction with London knitting group I Knit London, launched a unique project to create a knitted scale model of the estate as a lasting memorial to the estate, prior to its demolition.
The estate has featured highly in many television shows including The Bill, Spooks, and since 2005 has been featured in a Channel 4 ident, showing urban deprivation, with the extensive embellishment of rubbish bags, shopping trolleys, washing lines and satellite dishes. As a result of protests from residents, objecting to the poor portrayal of the estate on screen, Southwark Council have now banned filming on the Aylesbury. More recently in August 2008, Aylesbury has been in the local news as result of Southwark Council paying for private buses (to Elephant & Castle station) for its employees working at its Aylesbury Regeneration Office. These services were provided in response to a number of attacks on its employees as they made the mile long journey on foot.
In 2009 the nearby Heygate Estate served as the backdrop to a feature length film called Harry Brown which starred Michael Caine. The film centres on the violence of a youth gang in a fictional British housing estate and the violent response exacted by a lonely pensioner. Many of the young men living at Aylesbury Estate had small parts in the film.
The regeneration of the Aylesbury Estate has been divided into several phases which will see the estate being re-built in 20 years. The indicative phasing plan states when tenants plan to be re-housed and when leasehold properties would be bought by Southwark Council however, this timetable is subject to a certain amount of flux, until the development partner is appointed and the more detailed scheduling of the work can begin, which will offer greater certainty to residents about when they will need to move. The first Phase 1a was completed in August 2013, it lies to the south west corner of the Aylesbury Estate and is divided into four development sites: A, C, B/E and D. This phase was developed with L&Q. It comprises 261 units, and a new resource centre for adults with disabilities. It is a mixture of affordable and private housing, with existing Aylesbury residents given priority to move into the new buildings. .
- Fletcher, Martin (2008-10-20). "Demolition of the Aylesbury Estate a new dawn for Hells waiting room". The Times (London). Retrieved 2010-04-26.
- [dead link]
- "ACORN - The Leading Geodemographic Classification Tool - New ACORN Classification Map". www.caci.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
- Matt Weaver (27 December 2001). "Resounding no vote for 'worst stock transfer'". The Guardian (London: guardian.co.uk). Retrieved 2009-05-21.
- "Estate too dangerous". BBC News (news.bbc.co.uk). 26 August 2008. Archived from the original on 14 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
- Aylesbury Estate regeneration
- "Aylesbury Regeneration - Phase 1a starts in spring 2009". www.aylesburyregeneration.org.uk. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
- Tinie Tempah: He's going to be huge, The Independent, 19 February 2011
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aylesbury Estate.|
- Aylesbury Area Action Plan - review of the main planning submission
- Creation Trust - successor to the Aylesbury NDC, working to ensure that residents receive the economic and social benefits of the regeneration of the area.
- Knit the Aylesbury Estate - community organisation
- Heygate & Aylesbury Leaseholders Action Group - Action Group