London estate next to Richmond Park where residents are stalked by gangs and lifts stink of wee

Residents on a London estate next to Richmond Park claim it is plagued by gangs and lifts that always break. People living on the Alton Estate in Roehampton have called for their homes to be fixed up as they aren’t being knocked down as part of a major revamp of the 1950s development.

Major plans to change the South West London estate were given the green light by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan earlier this year. Under the latest plans, 288 council homes will be knocked down while 1,108 new and replacement homes are due to be built.

There will be a new square, community building and office accommodation on the site. Many locals have backed the regeneration plans.

READ MORE: Wandsworth Alton Estate regeneration to go ahead despite withdrawal of developer

The Alton Estate was built in South London in the 1950s

But residents of tower blocks on the estate told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that homes which aren’t being knocked down also need repairs. Dad-of-two Terry Baker, 45, said he felt the estate was dirty, and claimed the council were “non-existent” when residents complained.

He said: “You could go into any block now and check their lifts – I bet there’s wee in there and stuff on the floor that looks like it hasn’t been cleaned or touched for months and we get charged a weekly cleaning thing.” He added: “It really needs to be updated some of it, I mean our lift has got holes in the floor. People don’t go in our lifts where we live because they think the floor’s going to go through one day and it will do one day.”

He said he used to see the police weekly on the estate but that there was not “very much policing at all” anymore. He said: “I’ve lived here 24 years… for the first four years there was a big police presence. Lots of raids. It was all very public, and sort of promoted, saying this is what we’re doing. But that was a long, long time ago we never see any police here anymore.”

He claimed there are now “gangs everywhere on this estate” coming from nearby Southfields, Battersea and Clapham. He said the block was also an ideal spot for would-be drug dealers.

Richmond Park estate, London, housing

Zena Maclawence, 30, said lifts are “always breaking down” on the South West London estate

When asked about the regeneration plans, resident Zena Maclawence, who lives outside of the demolition zone, said: “I’m more concerned about the quality of where I’m living.” The 30-year-old said there was “so much that needs to improve”.

Ms Maclawence said she was happy on the estate but that her home was “freezing” during winter, with residents waiting for double-glazed windows to be installed. She said: “It’s a concern and I hope they see it through and I hope they do it before winter kicks off.”

She added: “The majority of my income goes onto the heating, it’s really cold especially in my daughter’s room and stuff like that.” She claimed there had been “empty promises” and that lifts were always breaking. She said: “It’s constant, it’s always breaking down – they need all new lifts and I just think they should be more responsive in terms of that.”

London estate, housing, Richmond Park

Joanne Smith, 49, has lived on the estate for 32 years

Joanne Smith, 49, said her home was also “freezing” during winter and that she was waiting for new windows. Having lived on the estate for 32 years, she said “not a lot has changed” and that she had experienced no “major problems” but struggled to get responses in time from the council. She said: “Everyone in the block, I couldn’t tell you all their names, but they always say hello.”

Student Khalid El Boukhari moved to the estate from Morocco in March 2021 and rated his happiness on the estate a “six out of ten”. He said although it had been “dangerous” in the area it was now “very, very quiet” and that most people he knew were students.

Richmond Park estate, London, housing

Khalid El Boukhari moved to the area in March 2021

Caroline Peters, 36, said she loved living on the estate but added there was “nothing really down here for the kids”. She said: “It’s nice down here – once everyone’s here like we’ll get together down here on summer fairs and everyone comes in and joins in and it is nice. You do get some naughty kids around there, adults and that have a drink on the street and that but everywhere else you’re gonna go you’re gonna get the same, and it ain’t that bad down here.”

Speaking about the regeneration plans, she said: “I think they should leave it there where it is and how it is because that’s how it is and how it’s always been.”

The regeneration scheme will take place in phases, meaning some parts of the estate will be rebuilt before others and new homes will be built before blocks are demolished. Work has already started on building the new council homes. The council has said the plans will deliver new high-quality homes that are accessible and adaptable, with access to private outdoor space along with new community facilities.

Wandsworth Council has been contacted for comment.

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