Social housing

Pledge to revamp 'historic' estate after campaign

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Boarded up homes on the Sutton Estate

A housing association has pledged to go back to the drawing board to bring most of the homes on a historic Chelsea estate into the 21st century after it lost a planning appeal over its controversial plans to demolish the whole estate.

Clarion Housing Group promised to save most of the homes on the Sutton estate and said some blocks will be redeveloped.

The 10-year campaign to save the Sutton Estate in Chelsea united politicians from all sides and included celebrity support from actor Felicity Kendal and comedian and activist Eddie Izzard.

Clarion Housing Group lost a planning appeal in December to knock down the estate of 15 blocks of flats and replace them with a mix of 270 social homes and 96 for sale on the open market.

The plans had been turned down by Kensington and Chelsea Council.

London mayor Sadiq Khan also said he was concerned about potential loss of social housing.

Clarion has just announced that it will not resubmit the plans rejected by the Secretary of State for Housing, James Brokenshire.

Instead, it plans to redevelop four blocks which are standing empty.

Clarion said the 159 vacant flats in blocks A-D, which are currently boarded up “cannot meet decency standards for accommodation”.

A spokesman said he could not provide more details about plans for the empty blocks but added: “Priority for the new social homes will be given to residents currently living on the estate.”

Clarion said that it is now ruling out redeveloping blocks E-K and N-O on the estate with 462 flats on Cale Street.

In scrapping its plans to knock them down, it said that instead it aims to “invest in the properties, for the benefit of existing and future residents”.

Estate Music

Kieran Yates explores the role council estates play in shaping British music culture.
Journalist Kieran Yates grew up in a South Asian family on a council estate in London. Living side by side with her neighbours, and separated only by thin walls, she heard a diverse array of sounds from immigrant communities – from jungle and R&B to bashment and bhangra.

In Estate Music, Kieran explores the role council estates play in shaping British music culture. She also looks at how the post-war dream of aspirational community living became soured, and asks if media coverage of grime and drill artists has helped fuel a national misperception of the council estate today. 

These spaces have inspired some of the country's most innovative music but, ironically, often give successful artists the means to move away to so-called better areas.

Kieran reflects on how important it is to represent your ends, and asks musicians where the line lies between accurate representation and artistic licence.

As urban areas get redeveloped, Kieran asks whether we should be protecting those spaces that have made such a unique contribution to our cultural fabric. 

Presenter: Kieran Yates
Producer: Nick Minter

A Wisebuddah production for BBC Radio 4