Lambeth community being ‘torn apart’ by threat of demolition

7 June 2019

Police were called to Central Hill Estate over the weekend after an illegal party and anti-social behaviour prompted complaints from local residents.


Party-goers reportedly broke into an empty property to provide power for music systems and residents were kept awake by noise disturbance from 2.45am on Saturday morning and 3.45am on Sunday morning. Two trees were also set alight near Lambeth Prospect block on Oakwood Drive.


Central Hill, located in Gipsy Hill, is one of the six estates due to be demolished under Lambeth’s estate regeneration scheme. Many people have already been moved off the estate, leaving over 60 properties empty, but now the original plans appear to have been scrapped by the council. Those who remain are left in a state of uncertainty as to the future of their homes and left in limbo with no clear timescale for what will happen to their community.


Councillor Pete Elliott (Gipsy Hill) has blamed the neglect of the estate for the rise in anti-social behaviour. He said:


“Residents on Central Hill are seeing  their community torn apart by Lambeth’s estate demolition programme. They have  consistently been ignored by the Council and have watched as the estate has been left to rot, falling into disrepair and squalor because of years of neglect. We warned the Council at the beginning of the year that empty properties on the estate would increase the risk of anti-social behaviour, criminality and squatting - we are now seeing these predictions come to fruition with illegal parties and noise disturbances throughout the night.


The councillor who himself lives on the estate continued:


“I was woken up at 5am on Sunday and spent two hours with the police on Sunday afternoon, made calls to the council  to ask for urgent action on unsecured properties and since then I’ve been working with concerned residents and the police.


“I live 500 metres away from the source of the disturbances and I could hear the noise from my home from the early hours. I can only imagine what it was like for residents closer to the incidents.Without immediate action to clamp down on these activities and to secure or fill empty properties, things will undoubtedly get even worse. Residents on the Central Hill Estate have been subject to mistreatment at the hands of Lambeth Council and are at the end of their tether - many cannot take much more.

"Estate demolition contributes to climate breakdown due to the release of embodied carbon when buildings are knocked down. Thanks to a Green Party motion  at the start of the year, Lambeth took an important lead in London to declare a climate emergency; to show the council is taking this commitment seriously they should immediately take the estate out of the plans for regeneration and work tirelessly with residents to rebuild the community and refurbish the estate to the latest environmental standards.”

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