Cressingham Gardens need to be repaired, restored and retained in my opinion for the following reasons.

It was designed and built at a time when housing ideals were at their highest and at a period still influenced by the aftermath of the Second World War when housing need was as great if not greater than now, when some of the best minds of a generation had come together in one place – at County Hall in London under the LCC and later GLC – to work in the architects department.

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Screenshot-Twitter - LorettaCLees: Launch: 'Staying Put: an ... - Google Chrome-2

Event link here -> Anti-gentrification handbook launch

Holy Trinity Church Hardel Walk
The Big Dig

The spire of Holy Trinity Church seen from Cressingham Gardens.  Split level houses on Hardel Walk. Wild flowers growing adjacent to Brockwell Park on the site of The Big Dig, a London wide project for enthusiastic urban gardeners.

Please sign both petitions:- Save Cressingham Gardens and Save Cressingham Gardens Estate – Thank You!

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 “A ghastly and unforseen programme of gentrification undertaken with the excuse of creating mixed communities


The knowledge base on which this article builds may be found in the two films High Rise Dreams and Homes for Heroes with a more in depth look over two hours in the magnificent City of Towers.

I have been asked by a student of architecture . . .

I want to know what Single Aspect thinks makes a good design for mass housing. Is it a 24h concierge service?

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UPDATE: Following the release of the BBC archive series Post War Architecture I am now able to point out that the first audio clip quoted in the programme below is taken from the opening seconds of Architecture at the crossroads : Doubt and Reassessment

“If one had to choose one symbol of the very worst kind of modern architectural crime it would surely be the crumbling housing estate. Its walls covered in graffiti, its windows smashed, its windy courtyards covered in litter, and its residents living in perpetual fear of muggers and thieves.” Meridian – Architectural Murder – 1986 – BBC World Service – listen here on YouTube at 28 mins long Architectural Murder

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“Thatcher used a carrot to encourage the better off tenants to buy their council homes and Cameron is using a stick, his Bedroom Tax, to destroy the remaining tenancies.”

It’s difficult to read the observations of the Guardian commentator I quote below without concluding that nothing has changed. Now it’s worse because then they were planning it but now appear to be implementing it.

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UPDATE: The report has now been released or download it directly here

“The right to housing is not about a roof anywhere, at any cost, without any social ties. It is not about reshuffling people according to a snapshot of the number of bedrooms at a given night. It is about enabling environments for people to maintain their family and community bonds, their local schools, work places and health services allowing them to exercise all other rights, like education, work, food or health.”

This ought to be burned into the front door of the Government department responsible for housing, with a blowtorch, in order to remind them every day as they come to work of their responsibility to all the residents of the United Kingdom.

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The lack of maintenance I identified here in a walk around Maiden Lane nearly three years ago is at last being addressed.


Despite my fears about it not being listed something of a C21st compromise has been achieved short of complete demolition and sale to a developer, but rather partial redevelopment on the Eastern side to generate the funds required to maintain the remainder.

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I compiled this list of quotes from Nicky Gavron and others eighteen months ago but with Heygate in flux I think it bears repetition just to remind ourselves that mixed communities are often nothing of the sort and simply an excuse for removing those on the lowest incomes from areas of valuable land.

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The real question when considering how the London estates should be “regenerated” if that’s the word (it used to be) is how this ought to be funded and on whose behalf. There was a time when the borough or shire (outside London) would employ their own architects, quantity surveyors, civil engineers, clerk of works and direct labour force and just get on with it.  In London of course it would have been the LCC and later the GLC. Those days may have gone in most cases but we need them back.

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