Residents are bidding farewell to a Bexley landmark as work begins to demolish the last remaining high rise tower as part of the new Erith Park regeneration scheme.
Over the next week, Cambria House will be the final of seven tower blocks to be taken down as the next phase of the redevelopment of the former Larner Road estate is started by housing association Orbit South, in partnership with affordable housing contractor Wates Living Space.
Once completed, the Erith Park development will provide almost 600 homes, many for families, across a range of tenures, such as shared ownership, private sale and affordable rent.
Planning permission for the next phase of the development, which will see 244 homes added to the 343 already developed, was granted by the London Borough of Bexley in February. The first homes of the final phase will be ready in summer 2017.
Erith Park is already home to over 200 households, including some long-standing residents who chose to remain in the area, and the demolition of the final tower block is an end of an era for many local people.
Resident Harold Lowther reflected on his memories in Cambria House. He said: “I lived there for 37 years after I moved in with my mother. We had a wonderful time, met lovely people, enjoyed great views of the allotments and could see the fireworks up in London on New Years Eve. There will be a tear in my eye when it comes down.”
Cambria House was the first home for resident Donna Wootton, who moved in aged two. She said: “I had a happy fun-filled childhood growing up on the old Larner Road Estate. I will feel a great sadness when Cambria is demolished, but will be there to say goodbye and thank you for my 47 years of knowing you.”
Orbit Homes’ project manager for Erith Park, Caroline Field, said: “These tower blocks have been part of Erith’s history and, although they do not provide the right options to meet housing need in Erith today, Orbit recognises the significance these buildings have for former residents.
“One way we are capturing this is by collecting audio stories of what it was like to live here. This will be available for people to listen to and add their own stories on our Walk the Talk tour, which is an audio tour of the area, from 26 September.”
For more information visit www.erithpark.co.uk