Lesnes Estate

WATCH: Abbey Wood residents fight to save their homes from demolition

Abbey Wood residents are refusing to be bulldozed by redevelopment plans that threaten to demolish their homes.

Peabody, one of the capital’s biggest housing associations, secured planning permission from Bexley Council in October 2022 to knock down the Lesnes Estate and construct 1,950 new homes, of which only 61 will be designated as social housing.

On 23 April, residents protested outside Bexley Civic Offices to voice their opposition.

In a speech, homeowner Dr. Johnnel Olabhie, 56, said: “You’re just doing everything because of business.

“This is just typical social cleansing under the guise of redevelopment.”

This sentiment was echoed by many who have lived on the estate for decades and fear they are victims of gentrification as the new Elizabeth Line attracts a new demographic to the once-undesirable area.

As part of the strategy to stop the regeneration, campaigners have occupied a vacant house on the estate, vowing not to move until Peabody and Bexley Council open a dialogue with residents about refurbishing existing units instead of the current plans to demolish.

Meanwhile Peabody says its redevelopment project is a step towards revitalising the area with much needed homes.

A spokesperson said: “We do understand that moving home can be a challenging time, and there’s a lot to adjust to and our dedicated team will continue to support residents throughout the process. 

“We consulted with tenants and resident homeowners about our plans over a four-year period and held a ballot in 2020.”

The Lesnes residents, though, insist their homes are not mere assets to be traded away but the foundations of their lives.

View the full report below.

WATCH: Abbey Wood residents fight to save their estate from demolition

Featured image credit: Rosa Kama

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