Residents told future of Ocean Estate

The Ocean Estate has been neglected for years. Photo: Marianne Brown

The Ocean Estate has been neglected for years. Photo: Marianne Brown

Tower Hamlets residents met with the council on Saturday to discuss plans and ideas for the future of the borough’s delapidated Ocean Estate.

The overcrowded estate, which was once known as the cheapest place in Europe to buy heroin, once had 6,500 residents. Some flats were crammed with 12 occupants.

Since September, it has begun to be demolished; some tenants remain, living alongside a thriving community of squatters.

Council officers have been holding smaller workshops with residents over the last few months, and feedback from these sessions was presented to the 50 residents who gathered from across the estate for Saturday’s consultation.

Up to 800 new homes will be built on the Ocean Estate site and residents were shown examples of what the new buildings could look like, as well as discussing different options for housing design, new play areas and open spaces.

A total of 1,200 homes will be refurbished throughout the estate, receiving new kitchens, bathrooms, wiring or floor coverings. 13 blocks have been chosen to kick-start the programme and residents were able to discuss details of the pilot scheme with the council.

Cllr Rania Khan, lead member for Regeneration, Localisation and Community Partnerships, said: “It’s encouraging to see the Ocean’s regeneration plans progressing. Over the past few months we’ve met with many smaller groups of residents, such as young mums with toddlers, residents of particular blocks and women only groups. Everyone’s input has been really valuable.

“It’s important for the council and residents to continue to work closely together because we all want to create the best homes possible for the estate. It’s been a lengthy process so far, but we know it’s worth it because the decisions that are made today will impact families for years to come.”

Contractors working on the estate’s regeneration also attended Saturday’s community consultation to hear first hand from the residents and provide answers to people’s technical questions.

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