Greenwich Council says that a derelict 1970s estate in Charlton will be fenced off and demolished as soon as possible after fire gutted two empty properties earlier this week.
Council tenants and leaseholders were moved out of the Maryon Grove estate in the mid-2010s as part of plans to redevelop it and the neighbouring Morris Walk Estate.
The estate, of 16 four-storey blocks, was taken over by the PA Housing association and used for short-term and emergency accommodation.
Greenwich Council moved to take vacant possession of the buildings in 2021, when the estate was already in a poor condition. The council says all of the properties are now empty.
The 172 homes are now mostly derelict, with some open to the elements and accessible for passers-by to walk into. Two maisonettes were destroyed by a fire on Monday evening, with 25 firefighters called to tackle the blaze.
Broken windows and fly-tipping litter the site, on the Charlton-Woolwich border, with boarded-up doorways kicked down. Bizarrely, new parking signs were erected last summer in the doomed estate, even though the tarmac has been partly dug up in places and the permit system will never be used.
All this has taken place under the noses of neighbours in adjacent homes in Maryon Road and surrounding streets, with Woodhill primary school directly opposite the derelict blocks on Maryon Grove.
Up to 165 homes are eventually planned for the site, according to a planning brief submitted nine years ago. Some 90 of these will be council homes, as part of a deal struck last year.
A council spokesperson said today that the site was fully vacated and “hoarding will be put up shortly”.
They added: “We plan to demolish the buildings as soon as possible, to minimise the risk of anti-social behaviour and prepare the site for redevelopment.
“Plans for the site will be developed in consultation with local residents and businesses, to ensure we get the best possible scheme for the community.
“If there are any concerns about anti-social behaviour on the site, please call 101. In an emergency, please call 999.”
Maryon Grove is due for redevelopment as part of a scheme that was originally called One Woolwich. The deal with the developer Lovell, signed ten years ago, led to the notorious Connaught Estate in Woolwich being demolished and rebuilt as the Trinity Walk development.
Morris Walk Estate was to follow, and rebranded Trinity Park, along with Maryon Grove, to be renamed Trinity Rise.
But the project stalled – with Morris Walk also left derelict for a spell – and was only rescued last year when Greenwich bought back the rights to build 265 council homes on the two estates for £87.5 million, including 90 at Maryon Grove. Work began on 175 council homes at Morris Walk last November.
Lovell has been criticised for delays in the project, with Morris Walk running at least two years behind schedule. According to documents filed with the council in 2014, a detailed planning application for Maryon Grove should have been submitted in January.
In 2019, Chris Kirby, who was then the cabinet member for housing, said he felt “badly let down” by the company.
Neighbours have also had to endure having the security services use the Morris Walk Estate to set off explosives while it was lying derelict during the first coronavirus lockdown three years ago.
Lovell has not responded to a request for comment.
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