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‘Hard hat’ mayor in Stepney splashes out on Ocean estate cash for homes

PUBLISHED: 09:58 08 September 2015 | UPDATED: 09:58 08 September 2015

Hard hat for the Mayor... John Biggs looks in at last phase of Stepney's Ocean Estate regeneration

Hard hat for the Mayor... John Biggs looks in at last phase of Stepney's Ocean Estate regeneration

Kois Miah

Mayors used to wear ceremonial robes and three-cornered hats for posh civic ceremonies.

2009... Start of pulling down Stepney's post-war Ocean Estate2009... Start of pulling down Stepney's post-war Ocean Estate

But the new executive mayor in London’s East End decided he’d better put on a construction industry hard hat for safety—to avoid having his housing programme buried.

Tower Hamlets Mayor John Biggs also put on protective clothing when he trampled through the mud onto the demolition site of Stepney’s massive Ocean Estate.

He turned up on Friday to see three outdated blocks being knocked down, ready to be replaced by 225 new homes.

“The chronic shortage of affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges we face,” the mayor said. “So we’ll to do all we can to encourage the development of major housing schemes such as this.”

2009... Demolition of Stepney's Ocean Estate is under way2009... Demolition of Stepney's Ocean Estate is under way

Allonby House, Channel House and Studland House were all part of the original post-war estate thrown up in 1951 to meet the East End’s acute shortage in the years following the Blitz which destroyed much of east London’s housing.

Nearly 70 years on, the estate is being upgraded with more housing to meet today’s shortage—nothing changes, it seems.

Tower Hamlets Council has already put £8,650,000, into the kitty along with almost £4 million thrown in by the Mayor of London.

More than £220 million has been put into the Ocean Estate since 2009, when demolition began, with the older blocks now bulldozed. The rest involved 1,200 council homes extensively refurbished so far, while 800 have had new kitchens and bathrooms installed. Another 800 new homes have been added including 295 for social rent for families on the 20,000-long waiting list.

The Mayor is hoping to demolish one of the longest housing waiting lists in London.


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