Neighbours praise developer despite rat problem as blocks are demolished

Waterloo Estate

Romford's first tower blocks are being demolished to make way for 1,380 new homes. - Credit: Chantelle Billson

Rats are plaguing neighbours of Romford’s first tower blocks as they are demolished to make way for a new community, but residents told the Recorder they do not blame the developer.

The William Pike House and Thomas England House on the Waterloo Estate, have stood tall at 120 feet since 1961. 

Wates Residential has started to demolish the historic blocks to make way for 1,380 new homes as part of the council’s 12 estate projects in partnership with housing developers. 


Caroline Lathan. - Credit: Chantelle Billson

Caroline Lathan, 71, who has lived on Cotleigh Road for 20 years, said although she is sad to see the estate being demolished, it hasn’t caused as much nuisance as people feared. 


Caroline Lathan, 71, said the leaf printed wall is a "beautiful" alternative to the standard blue boarding. - Credit: Chantelle Billson

She added: “I wasn’t in favour of the demolition but you have to give credit where it’s due; the builders have been knocking off when they said they would and not working Sundays.

"They have also put up a beautiful leaf wall as we didn’t want the blue graffitied one.”  

Waterloo Estate

The two 11-story (120 feet) buildings were deemed no longer fit for purpose. - Credit: Chantelle Billson

The high-rise blocks being built in place of the former blocks will overlook the gardens and windows of properties on Cotleigh Road.   

Kerryann Newland, who lives on Cotleigh Road, said since the demolition began the road has been "inundated with rats".  


Angelina Leatherbarrow, 45. - Credit: Chantelle Billson

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A Cotleigh Road resident of 16 years, Angelina Leatherbarrow, 45, said Wates has been constantly keeping the residents informed.  

She added: “But there are more things like rats. I think it’s unavoidable, my cats are bringing rats in every single day at the moment. It’s not pleasant.

"But Wates confirmed they are using (cat-friendly) repellent to tackle the problem."

Angelina added that neighbours concerns include “shelves wobbling” due to the works and the long-term impact on their homes.  

She added: “We are still quite concerned about what the development will mean for us in the medium term before we even get to thinking about the long-term impact of over 1,000 additional properties.”  

Waterloo Estate

Waterloo Estate is the largest of the council's 12 Estates projects with joint venture partner Wates Residential. - Credit: Chantelle Billson

Lisa Goodey, 44, from Hornchurch, grew up on the estate and said she feels “sad” to see the blocks demolished.  

She added: “I also feel proud of being part of the Waterloo history. Growing up on an estate part of a community that is no more. They can demolish our estate but they won't take our memories.”  

Another Cotleigh Road resident, Barbara Smith, 71, said so far the progress has been good and she is “pleased there’s no mess or dust” and the builders are “very friendly”. 

Waterloo Estate

Waterloo Estate in Romford. - Credit: Chantelle Billson

Wates was contacted for comment.

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