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Tuesday29 July 2014

Heygate was no 'mugger's paradise', says original architect

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Tinker and Shuttleworth go head to head over Heygate

The original architect of the Heygate Estate in south London has said it is being knocked down because it has been unfairly labelled as a ‘muggers paradise’.

Tim Tinker, who worked on the scheme for seven years while at Southwark council, said: “The Heygate and its design has been stigmatised and I thought it was time to set the record straight. [Its notorious reputation is] a farrago of half-truths and lies put together by people who should have known better.”

And he insisted the 1970s estate would be a “jewel” in any modern-day property portfolio had it not suffered decades of neglect.

Elephant and Castle's Heygate Estate under construction in the early 1970s.

Elephant and Castle’s Heygate Estate under construction in the early 1970s.

Tinker was defending his original brutalist design at a public inquiry into Southwark council’s compulsory purchase of properties on the estate.

He criticised its proposed replacement, masterplanned by Make, for its “mean space standards [and] noisy and restricted environment” and said practice founder Ken Shuttleworth “[didn’t] know anything about the Heygate”.

The public inquiry was sparked by residents who accuse the council of breaking assurances about their future. Just 71 of the 2,500 new homes will be social housing.

Make's Elephant Castle scheme to replace Heygate estate

Make’s Elephant Castle scheme to replace Heygate estate

Tinker and Twentieth Century Society director Catherine Croft told the planning inspector the estate could easily be refurbished and brought up to 21st-century standards of insulation.

Croft praised its generous room sizes and the way the perimeter blocks backed on to the surrounding roads and railway to screen residents from noise.

Shuttleworth, who gave evidence on the first day, stressed the permeability of his scheme and the parkland at the heart of the design.

Tinker said: “I have great respect for Dr Shuttleworth but I don’t think he knew anything about the Heygate. What he and everyone else has been doing is selecting things about estates in general and then applying them to the Heygate.”

The Make scheme won outline planning in January, with the first phase of housing, designed by dRMM, given detailed approval last week.

dRMM, Heygate

dRMM’s scheme for phase 1 of the Heygate redevelopment

 

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Readers' comments (16)

  • james francis

    Is it not time there was a general and detailed investigation into the viability of reuse of existing building stock. Surely an impartial review of the general principles would help establish a baseline in these individual cases?

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  • Here's the baseline:

    Please, do me a favour: don't mention the viability of existing building stock (and of established communities). The only question is: who's going to make the most £££ by throwing thousands of people out of their homes, destroying a community, and rebuilding, mainly for sale at market rates?

    I hope that clarifies things for you.

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  • Now: what was it that Boris Johnson was saying about dealing with the housing crisis?

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  • Mike Duriez

    Muggers will favour the Make scheme because of the higher wealth profile of the anticipated residents.

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  • it'll be a gated development, so as long as they've got the stamina to run from the tube station to the to the key fob reader, they should be fine.

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  • Stewie

    Ganster's Paradise, man. No of course it was so wonderful we should still be having this dross being thrown up everywhere. Really is this man's skull so thick and ego so big he cannot hear everyone decrying that it was no good. So everyone else is wrong and he is right, how arrogant is that. He should ask himself the question, 'would you buy it ?', if the answer is no then it should not have been built. Yes, I would love to see the place he lives. No doubt dislikes the fact that he can no longer force his architecture onto people whether they like it or not. It's a new architecture generation now and we've moved on and rejected this rubbish.

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  • I don't hear "everyone decrying" [sic] "that it was no good". And if you think Make is good, I feel sorry for you.

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  • It was no good. There you are.

    And there was certainly no community there to destroy. Maybe back in the 60s, who knows, but not in the last couple of decades.

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  • around 83% of the now former heygate residents clearly and irrevocably stated they'd prefer to stay on the heygate and just have it refurbished and, most importantly, regularly maintained by the council. as for the 'crime' - we did a comparative study between different areas of southwark (using publicly available police data) and, erm, crime around london bridge is higher than around elephant/heygate. crime in camberwell is higher than around elephant/heygate. yet the council isn't exactly rushing to knock down or cordon off either, are they?

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  • It's a factory for housing people. Not only that, it's also designed to house them in such a soulless and demeaning environment as to make them feel that their very lives are a punishment - a punishment for being poor and dependent on society's handouts. It's truly outstanding stuff, and as the lady said, it could surely have been brought up to 21st standards of insulation; anyone denying that would be wronging the architect.

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