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15 July 2010

John Prendergast

The main part of the Heygate Estate will be a ghost town for four years, under current plans to demolish it.

With roughly 20 leaseholders and tenants currently left on the estate, whom the council hope to move this year, the middle of the Elephant and Castle will be dominated by giant empty blocks until 2014, when the main part of the Heygate is set to be levelled.

A timetable of demolition in council documents reveals, with the exception of the Rodney Road blocks that are being taken down now, that other blocks are not going to be demolished until two years after the London Olympics.
The work will carry on into 2015, when the land will finally be ready to be redeveloped on.

Cllr Tim McNally, the shadow Lib Dem member for resources, stated that the Rodney Road block demolition had already begun under his party’s term in office prior to May this year.

He added: "On their [Labour’s] timetable they hope to start demolishing those remaining blocks, the Ashendens, Kingshill, Swanbourne, those big blocks in late 2014, early 2015. I mean again, outside the life of this administration, and then the building would start on those."

He claimed under the previous Liberal Democrat and Conservative coalition administration’s plan, that was not signed off prior to the May 6 election, that those blocks would have started coming down in 2012.

The timetable in Cabinet papers released this month show that the Rodney Road block demolition will be completed early next year. But there is no more demolition work pencilled in until the middle of 2014.

Council Leader Peter John said: "The final deadline for the demolition is 2014/15, but we hope to bring it forward. What people need to remember is the estate is full of asbestos and cannot be blown away and swept up.

It has to be taken down slowly and it could be a laborious process, although I hope that date will come forward.
"The other side of the coin is that we will be seeing the first of the new builds going up in 2014."

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