More than 100 customers and community stakeholders celebrated customers moving in to the first new homes to be completed at the Erith Park regeneration scheme.
Residents took part in an official ribbon cutting to mark the celebration, as well as enjoying a Chinese New Year themed street party with entertainment from a dancing Chinese lion and a costume competition.
Erith Park is one of the largest regeneration projects in London and when complete, the £120m housing scheme will provide more than 580 new homes for local people, with the first 169 homes completed by March 2015.
Cllr Linda Bailey, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Growth at London Borough of Bexley, cut the ribbon at the event. She said: “I am thrilled that this day has arrived. A lot of hard work has gone into developing these homes and I am proud of the end result. I would like to extend a big thank you to the residents who worked so hard to help shape Erith Park and look forward to seeing them settle and prosper in their new homes.”
The project is fully supported by the London Borough of Bexley as a priority project within Bexley Local Investment Plan and Regeneration Strategy
Tim Wates, Director of Wates Group said: “I felt delighted and privileged to be at this opening event and Wates look forward to an ongoing working partnership with Orbit, Bexley and the residents of Erith Park.”
Deputy Chair of Orbit Group, Professor Tony Crook, said: “Erith Park is Orbit’s flagship regeneration project and is something we have had a vision for since the 1990’s. Thanks to a great partnership with residents, London Borough of Bexley, Wates Living Space and other strategic partners, we’ve been able to make that dream a reality. We are delighted to welcome the first residents into their new homes and hope they continue building the strong sense of community that they’ve already started.”
Community organisations also joined in the event with stalls for residents to take part in activities including, Erith Leisure Centre, Orbit’s Employment and Training team and Nemesis Gym, a local fitness and martial arts centre. There was also a Chinese calligrapher writing out people’s names and a chopstick competition.
The regeneration team collected information for a smartphone app, ‘Walk the Talk Erith Park Tour’, which will be a walking tour capturing the history of Erith Park and allowing users to tour the area and learn more about its local history.
The Erith Park Resident’s Core Group, who helped shape plans for the new homes, also shared photos showing the history of the scheme and progress as the new homes were built and held a raffle to raise funds for the group’s social activities.
Erith Park has been delivered in partnership with Wates and has been made possible thanks to funding from the Mayor’s Affordable Homes Programme. In order to provide much-needed homes in the area, 30 per cent will be three and four bedroom family homes with gardens. The apartments will be low rise and will have a private balcony or terrace, and 10 per cent will accommodate wheelchair users. Five tower blocks have already been demolished and the remaining two will be torn down by the end of 2015.