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Proposal to knock down Raiham tower blocks announced

PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 May 2016 | UPDATED: 08:48 31 May 2016

Tower blocks, Napier and New Plynouth house

Tower blocks, Napier and New Plynouth house

Archant

The "forgotten flats of the Mardyke Estate" could soon be demolished and replaced with modern, affordable housing.

Hundreds of residents in Napier House and New Plymouth, Dunedin Road, Rainham, signed a petition earlier this year pleading with Havering Council to either renovate or demolish the buildings.

Neil Stubbings, head of housing services, has now confirmed that the local authority is keen to tear them down.

He said: “We don’t want Havering estates sticking out as Havering council estates, we want them to be modern estates.

“This does reaffirm the council’s commitment to this part of the borough by doing something more ambitious than we have done before.

“It will be affordable housing for local people, because that’s the important thing.”

In 2008, work on the multi-million pound Orchard Village began on the site of the former Mardyke Estate with four of the six tower blocks knocked down. Eight years later the remaining two blocks are still standing.

At the beginning of the project, plans were drawn up for Napier House and New Plymouth to be demolished this year. But residents remain.

Occupants told the Recorder last month that pensioners wear hats and scarves to sleep in the single-glazed flats because they are so cold, and mothers are forced to drag prams up flights of stairs because of concerns about faulty lifts.

A consultation period will be launched next month to allow residents to have their say about the proposal.

“We are looking at doing something very ambitious and refurbishing the buildings was not the right thing to do,” Mr Stubbings said.

“We want to knock the estate down, build more units there and consult with residents on its design.

“What we want is for residents to be involved so they have some ownership of what the estates might look like.”

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