Islington pensioners’ homes face potential demolition in council housing plan

Housing chiefs at Islington Council say the Dover Court Estate needs redeveloping

Housing chiefs at Islington Council say the Dover Court Estate needs redeveloping - Credit: Archant

Pensioners on an Islington estate face having their homes flattened within the next year as part of a plan to tackle the borough’s housing “crises”.

Nearly 20 homes where elderly people have lived for years could be demolished on the Dover Court Estate as the council struggles to find space for new developments to tackle soaring waiting lists.

Although the pensioner homes would be replaced with new flats, they would be forced to move elsewhere in the borough while construction work takes place.

More than 3,000 families in social housing currently live in overcrowded conditions while the number of families on waiting lists has soared from about 13,000 two years ago to 16,000 now.

James Murray, Islington Council’s cabinet member for housing, said the plans are part of a much “bigger picture” to boost levels of affordable housing in the borough.

He said: “This is a smaller part of a much bigger plan across the borough to make sure we have more council housing.

“We are having to look at local areas to see where we can provide some housing here and some there.

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“The market forces and forces engulfing property prices in London mean it’s going to get harder for people on low incomes to live in London so we need to do what we can to make sure Islington can be somewhere where people can live on different income ranges.

“Islington faces a housing crisis – with government benefit cuts and private sector rent rises making it harder and harder for many residents to afford to live here.

“Our proposals for the Dover Court Estate would see new council homes built for tenants on the estate including those who are living in overcrowding.”

Islington Council has identified three sites on the 250-home estate which could be built on in a bid to create up to 72 extra homes.

Residents will now be consulted over the plans which could see the option to demolish and rebuild the pensioners’ homes in Romford House defeated if opposition is mounted.

Millions could be ploughed into the development, which would see homes offered at a third of market rents.

Two other sites on the estate where building could take place are behind Warley House and between Westcliff and Ongar House.

The only site where demolition would be necessary is Romford, where a council spokesman confirmed “a fair few” elderly people live. Construction work could begin as early as spring 2014.

A consultation, launched on Monday, will close on May 17. Residents can also attend two drop-in sessions on Thursday, May 2, between 2pm and 7pm, and May 11 from 2pm to 5pm at the Ongar House garages.