‘Leaking block of flats? We’ll just pull it down’ says Poplar pensioner Eileen

PUBLISHED: 13:19 03 November 2016

Jubilant Eileen Altimas (left) and friend Janet with project manager Gary Lubrun [photos: Ben Broomfield]

Jubilant Eileen Altimas (left) and friend Janet with project manager Gary Lubrun [photos: Ben Broomfield]

Ben Broomfield

The demolition gang came in led by an 81-year-old pensioner to get rid of two leaky 1960s blocks of flats in London’s East End.

Tearing down Bow Common's leaky Linton HouseTearing down Bow Common's leaky Linton House

Former tenant Eileen Altimas was selected by Poplar Harca housing organisation to kick off the demolition of Linton House where she lived for 20 years and the neighbouring Printon House, as part of the Bow Common neighbourhood regeneration.

“I had many happy years in Linton House,” Eileen recalls. “But at the end, I was happy to see the block go, because of all the damp and cost to heating the place.”

The steps up onto the demolition crane proved a little difficult for Eileen—but it was worth the effort to watch the two blocks in St Paul’s Way crumble.

She moved into Linton House in 1993 as a Tower Hamlets council tenant and later bought her flat under the ‘right to buy’ scheme.

The redevelopment of her old estate to make way for 109 new mixed-use Telfords Homes family dwellings includes a new two-form entry primary school and nursery linked to St Paul’s Way Secondary, a mosque, two children’s play areas, an outdoor games area and even a power centre to supply low-cost energy.

The first wing of the new school was completed and handed over to the local education authority last month, in time for the winter term.

The next milestones are to complete the mosque early in the New Year and the rest of the school by the summer, with the whole scheme finished by 2019.

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