Northwold Estate: Full demolition off table after public pressure - but 3 options still involve knocking part of it down

Campaigners on the Northwold Estate protesting against redevelopment. L-R: Dorinia Harley, Deborah M

Campaigners on the Northwold Estate protesting against redevelopment. L-R: Dorinia Harley, Deborah McManamon, Nicola Collett, Emily Jost, Lucia Hernandez and Damian Brennan. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

A housing group planning to redevelop the Northwold Estate is back with fresh plans after its original scheme was panned by just about everyone.

Growing pressure from neighbours and the town hall led the Guinness Partnership’s own consultants to recommend a hasty U-turn in December.

It had been consulting on three options for the major project: full demolition, partial demolition and building in green spaces (infill). But campaigners believed bosses had their hearts set on the second option after finding documents from prospective contractors that pre-dated the consultation detailing work of that nature.

Guinness later admitted partial demolition was its preferred choice but mounting pressure from campaigners and even Hackney mayor Phil Glanville led Newman Francis, its own consultants, to urge a rethink.

Last month Guinness launched a new consultation outlining four new options, none of which involve demolishing the whole estate. The first would see only infill and create 100 new homes, while the others all involve partial demolition. One would see 15 homes demolished and rebuilt, adding 100 new ones. Another would flatten and rebuild 95 new homes and see an increase of 210, and the last would involve knocking down 154 homes, but would provide 295 more than there are now.

Guinness’s plan is to whittle four options down to two by September with new proposals put forward by the end of the year. But campaigners remain angry. Emily Jost from Save the Northwold told the Gazette she feared the infill options wouldn’t prove viable and that Guinness would still favour the options with the most demolition.

“Guinness were telling residents they are selfish if they don’t support demolition because it is the only way to solve Hackney’s housing problems,” he said.

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“Yet they refuse to tell us the tenure for each option. There is no social impact assessment or environmental impact assessment. And they are asking us which option benefits the people of Hackney most – we are not being asked which we prefer.”

She added: “We are being thrown under the bus. Their plans will benefit none of us and no one on the 12,000 housing list. Hackney Council must not support their plans.”