Councillors vote unanimously to demolish 1960s blocks plagued by safety fears

Karakusevic Carson Architects has won council backing for its proposals to demolish four 1960s tower blocks on an estate in south-east London and replace them with a new scheme with more homes.

Its proposals for the Ledbury Estate, off the Old Kent Road in Southwark, will deliver 340 new homes across six blocks ranging in height from five to 22 storeys.

Serious structural and fire-safety concerns about the four existing 14-storey blocks on the split site emerged in 2017. Gas supplies were removed from the properties when it was discovered that strengthening work on the panel-system blocks that should have been carried out to avoid the risk of a Ronan Point-type collapse had not been carried out.

Residents of the Ledbury Estate voted in favour of regeneration in a ballot last year, prompting the appointment of a design team led by Karakusevic Carson and featuring Office Sian, Studio Gil, NimTim Architects and Studio ONB.

The existing towers contain a total of 244 flats, although the wider estate has an extra 168 homes in low-rise blocks which will remain in place.


Source: Karakusevic Carson Architects

Karakusevic Carson Architects’ proposals for the Ledbury Estate in Southwark

The scheme approved last week would see the blocks replaced by six new buildings: the 22-storey tower, a 14-storey block with five-storey elements, an eight-storey block and three six-storey blocks.

Recommending Karakusevic Carson’s 340-home  proposals for approval, Southwark planning officers said the quality of the regeneration scheme was considered “excellent” and that the additional 116 homes above the replacement flats would be just over 50% when, when measured by habitable room.

“The proposal would sit comfortably in the existing and emerging context in massing and design terms, including in the context of the adjoining consented schemes in the Old Kent Road Opportunity Area,” they said.


Source: Google Maps

Three of the Ledbury Estate’s panel towers, seen from the junction of Commercial Way and the Old Kent Road

“It would have acceptable amenity impacts including in terms of daylight and sunlight impacts for neighbours and would not cause any harmful overlooking of adjoining occupiers.”

Planning committee members voted unanimously in favour of the scheme after considering the application for around 90 minutes at their meeting on Thursday.

Their backing is subject to the approval of London Mayor Sadiq Khan.