St Mary’s Path estate won’t be demolished... but tenants will be forced out their homes

Residents of St Mary's Path Estate, from left: Patrick Rodwell, Jean Rodwell, Yadilene Vallejo, St M

Residents of St Mary's Path Estate, from left: Patrick Rodwell, Jean Rodwell, Yadilene Vallejo, St Mary's vicar Rev Simon Harvey, Sidney Rodwell, Jackie Hughes and Maureen Roberts. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Polly Hancock

Campaigners have won the battle to stop their historic estate off Upper Street being demolished – but many may still be forced out of their homes.

Islington and Shoreditch Housing Association (ISHA) last year drew up five options to rid St Mary’s Path estate of damp – including flattening it completely.

But most of the families, some of whom have lived on the estate since it was built 70 years ago, do not want to leave their homes and say damp is not justification for demolition.

Following a consultation earlier this year campaign group Protect Our Estate Together (Poet) sent a letter to ISHA demanding the right to return to their homes.

But it hasn’t worked.

New plans outlined last month would see nine new flats built as roof extensions, and three and four bed homes converted into two-beds.

ISHA, which has never responded to the Gazette’s requests for comment, stated in their latest information splurge: “Most customers requiring three and four bedroom accommodation may not be able to return to their home or remain on the estate.

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“And most customers living in one and two bedroom accommodation who need to move will be able to remain on the estate but they may not be able to return to their specific property.”

Poet also asked for rents to be kept to the current social housing levels, which also won’t be happening as ISHA has said it will charge affordable rents.

“This means that although ISHA seem to have dropped the idea of demolishing the estate, they are very much intent on destroying the existing community that lives here,” Poet said. “Many people may not be allowed to come back, and those who could come back would most likely be priced out due to the new rents. This amounts to social cleansing. We believe this is not acceptable.”

Following the backlash last year, ISHA hired Bailey Garner to conduct a non-intrusive thermal survey of the blocks to see where the damp is. But Poet says the results should be covered by ISHA’s general repair and maintenance policy.

“This is what we pay a rent and service charge for,” they said. “ISHA should really start fulfilling their obligations as a landlord rather than come up with redevelopment plans.”

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