Rundown estate gets a new look
18 February 2009
|Robert Burbage, 55, chairman of the Six Acres Tenants’ and Residents’ Association outside one of the repainted blocks|
DECADES of neglect had resulted in one of Islington’s biggest council estates become a dilapidated haven for gangs of drug dealers and criminals.
But residents on the Six Acres Estate, in Finsbury Park, say they are finally feeling the benefits as the latest stage of a £5.15million regeneration scheme to improve homes and cut crime nears completion.
|By April, the last of the eight housing blocks to be refurbished will be complete|
Robert Burbage, 55, chairman of the Six Acres Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “The council didn’t seem to want to do anything to the estate. It was never even painted. Every time something happened they’d run out of money for the project.
“It’s really difficult to stop people who aren’t from the estate from coming here. When they put CCTV up all round Finsbury Park all the dealers moved here because it’s the next place along. There was no security on the stairwells. It’s on all estates but its gangs of kids smoking, drug paraphernalia and anti social behaviour.”
|HFI project manager David Ronan|
By April the last of eight housing blocks, home to over 1,000 people, will be repainted, re-clad and new security entry systems and CCTV will be installed.
The final stage will be to build 164 new homes over a two-year period – creating new roads, gated courtyards, a public plaza and playgrounds.
Mr Burbage, a community centre volunteer who is currently unemployed and who has lived on the Six Acres since it was built 30 years ago, added: “Most of the people I’ve talked to like it. We’re getting our own gates and have our own courtyards so people are coming around to saying ‘yes, we can see the council are doing something’.
The ambitious scheme – by Islington Council’s housing firm Homes for Islington (HfI) – was delayed after original contractor went bust and some residents have complained about noise and mess from builders.
David Ronan, HfI’s project manager, said: “There was a level of inconvenience but changing contractor in eight weeks was pretty impressive. On a project costing so much money and involving so many people there’s going to be disturbances.
“The whole idea is going away from that 1970s feel. This is where people live and it should for people who live here. Opening it up and improving sightlines will all help to cut crime and there’ll be a one-way system to stop rat runs.”
“This is totally different to any of our work in Islington. This is regeneration, not refurbishment.”
The work is part of a £48.7million scheme to replace bathrooms and kitchens replaced across the Six Acres, Andover and Clifton and Hayden Court estates, as well as improvements to security, access and public spaces.