Frequently Asked Questions

A

The GLA and LBTH proposed the comprehensive regeneration of Blackwall Reach in order to address local housing need and regenerate an area which was failing to meet the needs and ambitions of local residents.

This regeneration involves the phased demolition of Robin Hood Gardens, with the current blocks replaced with a new sustainable development comprising energy-efficient, mixed-tenure homes and designed open space, local shops, commercial premises and community facilities.

Across the whole site partners will deliver up to 1,575 mixed-tenure homes. Over 50% (by habitable room) of the new properties will be affordable housing. Of these, 80% will be available for social rent and the remainder will be intermediate tenure. This means that approximately 550 social rented homes will be delivered through the scheme, with a further 130 intermediate. This represents a net gain of over 300 social rented homes (and over 440 affordable homes) at Blackwall Reach.

The increased number of residential properties will generate the maximum amount of funding available to deliver wide-scale regeneration benefits including better education and community facilities, safer streets and improved pedestrian access to surrounding areas.

A

The proposed changes will enable the community to remain in the area if that is what they want.

We believe the close-knit community is one of the major strengths of the area, however, this community was suffering from serious over-crowding and constrained community facilities including an over-subscribed primary school and a very small mosque. A comprehensive regeneration offers the opportunity to re-house residents in energy-efficient homes, sized according to their needs, together with substantially more community facilities, including an enlarged school, space for a bigger mosque, better community facilities, safer streets and improved pedestrian access to surrounding areas.

Existing residents have already been rehoused into the new blocks completed to the north of the site, and feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

A

The overall project has five redevelopment phases in total, which will take the project up to 2024. Managing the project in phases enables existing residents to be decanted effectively, into their new homes as they are built.

Phase 1a was completed in September 2015, delivering 98 affordable homes (comprising 79 homes for social rent and 19 intermediate homes). Delivering this first phase as 100% affordable housing enabled council tenants and resident homeowners to remain in the local area, and be the first to benefit from the new homes.

There was an existing mosque on the site, which formed an integral part and key focus of the local community. As part of Phase 1 this building was re-sited and replaced in the new development in a location that enables a better scheme masterplan and in facilities that are more in keeping with the construction of the new development. The new mosque is larger and equipped with better facilities than its predecessor.

The space is also being used to accommodate a new office and community centre which were launched in October 2016.

A

Work has already begun on phase 1b, to the south of the site.

Phase 2 (which will begin with the demolition and reconstruction of the west block of the existing Robin Hood Gardens Estate) is scheduled to commence late in 2016.

The new community centre, named “The Reach” by local residents, was formally opened by the Mayor of Tower Hamlets in October 2016.

A

You can contact the project team who will be happy to answer your questions

Read the is a regular ‘InTouch” newsletter circulated to all residents and to local stakeholders and is available to read online here.

A

Yes. The LBTH's objective has always been:-

  • To enable existing residents, whether council secure tenants or home owners, to stay in the area if this is their preference, by giving them good options to do so;

Existing tenants will have a guaranteed option to stay in the area, by taking up an offer of a permanent decant move to a new home, within the Blackwall Reach development, to be built by Swan. Existing tenants choosing this option will become assured tenants of Swan, but with their key rights of secure council tenure preserved by the new landlord. LBTH guarantees this.

A

As with other new housing developments in Tower Hamlets, and indeed nearly all local authorities, considerable funds are required to build the significant numbers of affordable homes for social rent in the regeneration area and this is currently beyond the means and borrowing capacity of the Council. As such, Swan will be building the new homes. Swan cannot by law grant Council Secure Tenancies but they have undertaken to preserve all the key terms and conditions that secure council tenants have now.

Swan is working closely with council officers to explain the tenancy agreements (which will be very similar to those they have now), and how Swan will manage the new homes as future landlord, to tenants. Existing tenants will also be consulted on the detailed design of their future new homes.

A

Yes. In order to address overcrowding both within the Blackwall Reach area and elsewhere in Tower Hamlets, significant numbers of larger family homes of 3-, 4- and 5-bedroom size will be built as part of the regeneration, including over twice as many for social rent.

A

The overall project has five redevelopment phases in total, which will take the project up to 2024. Q11. How will you be seeking to offer employment and training opportunities to local people?

The aim is to ensure that the regeneration improves the quality of life for residents and the local community by creating a range of employment and training opportunities. Swan’s Resident Involvement and Communications team has been working closely with the Swan Foundation and Swan’s Development team to deliver a variety of employment and training initiatives. Since May 2011 training and skills development sessions have been held including:

  • Financial Management Training supporting 31 families to better manage their money;
  • Training and Employment sessions for young people;
  • A variety of Construction Skills training sessions which have had a number of positive outcomes including two young people securing admission to Tower Hamlets College, one securing an internship withConstruction Safe UK and another passing the CSCS test.
  • Work experience placements for young people.
  • Youth and Sport Activities including supporting the Robin Hood Gardens’ youth football team and providing basketball coaching sessions with NASSA.

Swan and the Swan Foundation are currently working with the Robin Hood Gardens’ TRA to secure external funding for further programmes.

We have also secured commitments from Swan’s development partner Countryside to provide local people with opportunities to secure employment, work placements, apprenticeships and training. They have also given commitments around the use of the services of local businesses to ensure they too have the opportunity to benefit from the construction works.