Researching regeneration

Research led by the University of Leicester with King’s College London shows the devastating impact of ‘regeneration’ on London’s council estate communities.

Gascoigne estate

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Completed in 1971, the estate is divided into Gascoigne East and Gascoigne West by a main road running through the middle of the estate. The original estate had 2,260 homes across both the East and West sites, all of which are to be demolished. The planning application for the demolition of Gascoigne East was approved by the GLA in September 2015, planning for Gascoigne West was approved by the GLA in December 2018. The first phase of the redevelopment of Gascoigne East was completed in 2019, its full completion date is expected to be 2024. Work on phase 1 of Gascoigne West started with demolition in January 2020.

Key themes discussed in the interviews:

  • Almost all the interviewees expressed that there is a lack of clear and concise information from the Council about the regeneration of their estate, in particular providing clear timelines.
  • Residents are unsure whether their homes were included in the plans for demolition and when they may have to move, creating a sense of apprehension and uncertainty for households.
  • Residents living in the portion of already completed new-builds on the estate state that bills in these properties are more expensive.
  • Some residents were looking forward to the regeneration of their estate and to the possibility of getting a newly-built home.
  • Interviewees recognised that their borough was changing and attracting more affluent, professional households.
  • References were made to there being lots of new construction and developments in the borough, especially the Riverside Development site.

Here is what some people said...

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Gascoigne estate resident
Council tenant

"I was told in a letter that they were going to bring them down and they were going to build new homes for us to move into. This is what I was led to believe, but I didn’t know that those new ones are for sale, and for those who can afford to put down private rent, which I can’t. So, I’m losing my home, where I’ve just had a new kitchen put in and new bathroom, and I don’t know where I’m going to end up, and I’m worried because my husband’s [age] next year, and we don’t know. The only thing they’ve offered us is sheltered, like a sheltered flat for older people, but they are tiny, and I’ve got a lot of things and I don’t want to go into sheltered accommodation. That’s my worry, my right."

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Gascoigne estate resident
Council tenant

"It was a rumour, because I was calling it, “Why are the blocks not down?” There’s no central heating. I’ve lived 15 years with no central heating, no double glazing. So, the winters are ridiculous. It’s just disgusting, and they didn’t care. They don’t care. As I said, the redevelopment is not for us, it’s not for poor people, it’s for people that are working, although I’m working, but it’s just for a whole different set of people."

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Gascoigne estate resident
Leaseholder

"there was a lot of dissatisfaction from the families we know in our estate. They were saying, ‘Well, what else can we do?’ We’ve raised our awareness and problems in public hearing meetings by the Council, but the shift in the Council side isn’t much. The maximum is 10% or we just take what they give us. So, there isn’t much room to accommodate, and one of my neighbours he’s thinking about moving with his brothers that live in Birmingham, and this would be like good money to invest in a good-sized house for him. Another neighbour has moved out to Leicester. So, he found really good work there, but, again the shift that people are saying, ‘Well, what else can we do?'."

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Gascoigne estate resident
Council tenant

"They're saying they're demolishing them. We are kept in suspense. We don't know what to do."


Gascoigne Estate by photographer Andrew Brown


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SOCIAL HOUSING AND MOBILITY IN 2017: THE GASCOIGNE ESTATE

A creative investigation by Steve Lawes

This booklet explores the current crisis of social housing and social mobility through the lens of the Gascoigne Estate in Barking, East London. Photography, essay writing, poetry and digital art have all been used here in an attempt to assess the issue from a variety of creative and analytical angles, mirroring and highlighting the multi-dimensional nature of the issue at hand.

Contacts: www.stevelawesarts.co.uk steve.lawes1@hotmail.co.uk

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