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Cathall estate was built in 1972, consisting of two 20-storey tower blocks and a huge maze of 8-storey flats. It became one of Britain's poorest areas with extreme levels of poverty and crime.
In the late 1990s, the estate began to be regenerated into a low-rise housing estate by the Waltham Forest Housing Action Trust and its successor landlord, Community-based Housing Association. Similar Housing Action Trust schemes were set up across Waltham Forest and Tower Hamlets in East London, Brent in North West London, Liverpool, Hull and Birmingham.
Despite widespread opposition, the Community-Based Housing Association (CBHA) is in the process of being taken over by the Peabody Trust. Peabody controversially 'sacked the board' in July 2015 for simply rejecting their takeover plans. The board included residents of the Cathall estate. Peabody have now placed their own officers on the board.
Following the removal of the tower blocks, Cathall's most prominent feature is now its leisure centre.
Cathall Estate become somewhat a notorious area with the most notable murder being that of 19-year-old Jamaican woman Cassandra Higgins who was killed by Yardie gangsters after being stripped naked and thrown from an eighteenth-floor window. Cathall is locally well known for having a rivalry with Priory Court Estate of Walthamstow and violent clashes have occurred on a regular basis. Residents of Leytonstone often called it a "no go area" as it had a very high rate of street robberies.
- Geoff Small, Ruthless: The Global Rise of the Yardies
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