A housing association has come under fire for leaving a huge plot of land in Queen’s Road, Peckham empty – nine years after a housing estate was demolished.
Notting Hill Housing was given planning permission in 2013 to rebuild 333 flats on the former Wood Dene Estate, next to the Acorn Estate.
The association’s website states the giant “eyesore” of land was meant to be newly rebuilt and ready for new tenants in 2017, but little has changed since the block came down.
Michael Bukola, the Lib Dem candidate for the Camberwell and Peckham parliamentary constituency, told the News: “I was decanted from the Wood Dene Estate in 2006 before it had to be demolished. I lived here as a tenant for 21 years. There was a strong sense of community there.
“One can’t underestimate the frustration that’s felt as a result of this. It’s an eye-sore. And because there’s no housing and it’s also poorly lit, it is dangerous for young families.
“I’m still in touch with people who lived there. Some are desperate to move back to the area where their roots are strong. They also want to pay respects to Zainab Kalokoh, who was murdered on the estate in 2006. People want some kind of permanent memorial here to remember her by.”
A Notting Hill Housing spokesman said a new target has been set to complete the development by 2019.
“Enabling works to construct a new energy centre and sub stations have been ongoing on site for the last eighteen months.
“These enabling works are now complete and the main contractor has been on site since last week to begin construction of the new homes, which will complete in 2019.”
The site was sold by Southwark Council to Presentation Housing before its demolition. At the time, the council was run by a Liberal Democrat and Conservative coalition, while Michael was a councillor.
Presentation’s assets were bought by Notting Hill following the economic crash of 2008 and 2009.
Michael now says that although the original plans were made by his own party, for which he was a councillor, the current Labour-run council also have a responsibility to ensure the homes are delivered.
The practising nurse also said the decision to demolish the Wood Dene Estate was taken because it had “fallen into disrepair” and was not fit for purpose.
“People were glad it was being pulled down,” he said.
“There were problems with its design and there was a lot of anti-social behaviour. But I worry people in this part of Peckham will feel taken for granted if they see sites like this left empty for a long time while all the development keeps happening in the north of the borough.”
Councillor Mark Williams, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “The plan to build over 300 homes on the site, including affordable homes, is still moving forward and the developers should be on site in the new year.
“It has taken longer than we anticipated to work out the complexities of providing a new energy centre on site to provide heating and hot water for the neighbouring Acorn Estate, which had to be in place before building work could begin, but we agreed the contract for that recently and that work is starting imminently.”