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Hoxton’s New Era Estate to be demolished and rebuilt three years after huge campaign drove out American investors

PUBLISHED: 10:36 10 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:26 10 January 2018

New Era Estate in Whitmore Road, Hoxton

New Era Estate in Whitmore Road, Hoxton

Archant

Hoxton’s New Era Estate will be demolished and rebuilt by the affordable housing charity that stepped in to buy it after huge protests over rent hikes.

Russell Brand arrives at the opening of the Trew Era cafe, a social enterprise community project on the New Era estate. Picture: PA Russell Brand arrives at the opening of the Trew Era cafe, a social enterprise community project on the New Era estate. Picture: PA

Dolphin Living has told tenants it needs to flatten the 1930s estate in Whitmore Road because that’s the only way it can make all the improvements it needs to.

The 82 families on the estate have all been promised homes on the new build. Dolphin has cryptically told the Gazette the rent will be set at what tenants would have paid “had the estate not been rebuilt”.

According to the charity, which bought the site off American investors in 2014, 69 of the tenants – 80 per cent – backed the demolition over the other option: years of piecemeal repairs and the same likely rent increase. No other choices were given.

While it is built they will be moved into Dolphin’s new flats in Kingsland Road, near Haggerston station.

Russell Brand leads demonstration towards Downing Street against the house price rising in the New Era estate. Russell Brand leads demonstration towards Downing Street against the house price rising in the New Era estate.

Dolphin said today there are no details yet on how many homes there will be on the newly-built estate, or what the mix of social and private homes will be. There is also no information on what will happen to the 12 shops on the estate.

A planning application is expected to be submitted in the autumn, with tenants moved into their temporary homes from September next year.

Dolphin took over the estate from New York-based Westbrook Partners, who had bought it in 2014 and announced a 10pc rent hike – drawing criticism from all sides, including then-mayor Jules Pipe.

The estate had survived the gentrification of Hoxton and rents were still as low as £150 a week. A huge protest against Westbrook hit the national headlines when campaigners enlisted the help of comedian Russell Brand, who led protests through the borough.

On one occasion, self-styled revolutionary Brand pinned an eviction notice to the door of the Benyon Estate offices in De Beauvoir, leading to the local landlords backing out of the management contract and giving up their 10pc stake.

Dolphin is known for its means-tested rent system, in which wealthier tenants pay more than low-income neighbours.

Dolphin CEO Olivia Harris said: “Our commitment to the existing residents continues to be central to our approach. We will now consult with residents on the design and resident priorities.”

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