Victory for families fighting to stop Spitalfields’ Holland Estate being demolished

Campaigning families from Spitalfields Holland estate

Campaigning families from Spitalfields Holland estate - Credit: Holland Estate

Hundreds of families have won the battle to save their homes in four mansion blocks from demolition in London’s East End.

Brune House on Holland Estate in Spitalfields

Brune House on Holland Estate in Spitalfields - Credit: Holland Estate

They have received letters revoking the notices they were sent from their social landlords to pull down the mansion blocks for redevelopment on the Holland Estate at Spitalfields—just five minutes from Liverpool Street station.

“It’s a great relief getting the letter revoking the demolition notice,” lifelong Holland Estate resident Shamsur Rahman said.

“The fight really brought the community together and our campaign has paid off.

Holland estate's Carter House

Holland estate's Carter House - Credit: Holland Estate

“The next challenge is to ensure they deliver the promised refurbishment.

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“It’s been nine years since they took over from the council—but the blocks haven’t seen the improvements we were promised.”

The original notices served to 600 families by East End Homes in March, 2014, led to a furious campaign involving lobbying Tower Hamlets council.

Campaigning families from Holland estate lobbying Tower Hamlets Council, summer 2015

Campaigning families from Holland estate lobbying Tower Hamlets Council, summer 2015 - Credit: Archant

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East End Homes wanted to replace the blocks with mainly private flats aimed at the higher end of the housing market.

It led to the new mayor John Biggs reassuring the families last summer that the council would not support the demolition plans, nor the Compulsory Orders needed to clear leaseholders from the estate.

Local MP Rushanara Ali, whose Bethnal Green and Bow constituency includes Spitalfields, even wrote to the Housing Minister.

The council began an investigation in July into where the £19 million had gone that was handed to East End Homes for modernising the Holland Estate.

The money was given for refurbishing and upgrading when council housing was taken over by social landlords in 2006.

The 1930s former LCC redbrick estate in Toynbee Street, off Petticoat Lane Market, has been described by Cllr Peter Golds as “a classic” that was well built, designed properly, user-friendly and “absolutely perfect family housing”.

East End Homes signed a £22 million contract in 2006 to modernise Holland Estate—but no refurbishment has taken place, the council was told last year.

But now the housing organisation has agreed to “undertake further consultation on repairs and refurbishment” instead.

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