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Town Hall calls on Government for green light’ on Robin Hood

PUBLISHED: 19:24 20 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:58 05 October 2010

TOWN Hall bosses have welcomed backing this week from English Heritage to tear down the dilapidated Robin Hood Gardens estate in London’s East End which leading architects have been battling to save. The huge 1970s concrete complex in Poplar next to the Blackwall Tunnel is waiting to be bulldozed to make way for a major redevelopment

It been almost a year since that doyen of British architecture Baron Richard Rogers stepped in to try and preserve this run-down 1970s housing block by the Blackwall Tunnel and save it for the nation, comparing the concrete Robin Hood Gardens to the great Georgian crescents of Royal Bath.

But the families want out’—so does Tower Hamlets council. This week English Heritage told the Government Robin Hood Gardens just wasn’t worth listing’ and the council should be allowed to raise it to the ground and start afresh

By Mike Brooke

TOWN Hall bosses have welcomed backing this week from English Heritage to tear down the dilapidated Robin Hood Gardens estate in London’s East End which leading architects have been battling to save.

The huge 1970s concrete complex in Poplar next to the Blackwall Tunnel is waiting to be bulldozed to make way for a major redevelopment.

Most of the families living there want it flattened, consultations revealed last year.

But it hasn’t been that simple. Leading architects backed by the Twentieth Century Society stepped in last year and called on the Government to list’ the entire estate for its unique post-modernist urban design.

That has trapped’ 250 families desperate for new homes, say campaigners taking on the architects’ challenge. The former showpiece’ estate had been run-down for three decades, they argued.

Delighted Town Hall leaders learned this week that English Heritage is now advising the Government that the buildings do not merit protection on architectural or historical grounds.

A clear message’ is now being sent by Tower Hamlets to Secretary of State for Culture Andy Burnham.

“Our message to Mr Burnham is put people before buildings,’ council leader Lutfur Rahman said in a press statement.

“We can see no reason for any further delays in giving a green light to the regeneration scheme with English Heritage confirming the buildings do not qualify for listing.”

Critics have slammed the Government for delaying the decision they say should have been made last year, after previously agreeing not to list’ Robin Hood Gardens.

Tower Hamlets Tory Opposition councilor Tim Archer accused Whitehall of stalling in a letter to the East London Advertiser this week, in which he says Labour is doing a U-turn on a decision made less than 12 months ago.

A survey last year found 80 per cent of the families want Robin Hood Gardens flattened. The redevelopment would mean new homes, a modern neighbourhood primary school and a new public park.


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