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Rainham tower block demolition for £1billion regeneration project begins

PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 July 2019

Left to right: cllr Benham, cllr Ramsey, cllr Dervish, cllr Frost, Lia Silva, Paul Nicholls and Hugh Jeffrey (Wates), Keith Prince, cllr Chapman, cllr White, leader of the council, Adrian Fennessy (Wates), Neil Stubbings, director of regeneration, Gary Redmond (Wates), Andrew Blake-Herbert, CE Havering Council and Mark Butler, Havering Council seeing in the beginning of the demolition. Picture: Havering Council.

Left to right: cllr Benham, cllr Ramsey, cllr Dervish, cllr Frost, Lia Silva, Paul Nicholls and Hugh Jeffrey (Wates), Keith Prince, cllr Chapman, cllr White, leader of the council, Adrian Fennessy (Wates), Neil Stubbings, director of regeneration, Gary Redmond (Wates), Andrew Blake-Herbert, CE Havering Council and Mark Butler, Havering Council seeing in the beginning of the demolition. Picture: Havering Council.

Havering Council

Yesterday, the demolition of two tower blocks in Rainham began, but if residents were expecting an enormous wrecking ball or an explosion, they would have been disappointed - the building is being "dismantled" and "deconstructed," the same way it was built, over a period of six months.

The The "eyesore" sxities council towers to be carefully "deconstructed". Picture: Adriana Elgueta

The demolition will make way for a new development to build 126 affordable new homes, with a number earmarked for families, and a further 71 homes for private sale, a joint venture by Havering Council and Wates Residential.

The Napier and New Plymouth House sites, originally part of the Mardyke Estate and built in the late sixties, were hastily built as was common in the post-war period, and although still structurally sound, the tower blocks were an "inefficient use of space".

The dismantling will happen by covering the towers with a "monoflex protection", or a large sheet around the scaffolding to prevent the dust from travelling to nearby houses.

A crane will lift a large drill onto the top of the building and floor by floor, the building will be descontructed.

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The materials from the towers, such as timber and metal will be sorted and packaged off to be recycled.

"It's the safest and most sustainable way to carry out a demolition," said one of the project managers in charge of the ambitious deconstruction.

The project is part of 5,200 new affordable homes being developed as per proposals submitted in May by Havering Council - the first phase of its £1billion borough-wide regeneration programme.

"I think it's fair to say this is one of worst council estates we have on our stock", said councillor Damian White, who is overseeing the development and who was present for the start of the demolition.

"We picked this estate and 11 others that we felt were being unutilised to redevelop and increase the amount of council houses as well as contributing to meeting housing targets."

It's the first time a council and a private housing company have partnered on such a project and in cllr White's view "should be a model that other councils should adopt, it's such an innovative way of delivering local homes, regenerating and contributing to the social renewal of the community."

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