The vision for Erith Park is to create a desirable residential neighbourhood, where residents of all tenures are proud to live. Regeneration has set high aspirations for the homes, landscape and public realm to deliver high-quality accommodation, open space and play provision within a well-connected neighbourhood, resulting in high demand for rented and sale properties.
Erith Park won the 2016 RICS London Regeneration Project of the Year award. Recognising our success in turning around the old estate, and creating a popular new neighbourhood which has transformed perceptions of the area, the judges said: “This is the first scheme on this main entry road to Erith, and as such it is acting as a catalyst to regeneration, not only on this site but also in the surrounding area.
The former Larner Road ex-council tower block estate was blighted by social problems. Built in the 1970s, the Larner Road estate transferred to Orbit in 1999. The bleak concrete podium, monolithic blocks, featureless public realm and high percentage of one bedroom flats and bedsits made the estate unpopular, and challenging to manage and police.
We asked some long term residents to recall what it was like before the transformation….
I kept a low profile for a long time. Once I got in my flat and locked the door it was OK.
In the evening the teenagers would take over the little play park, drinking and smoking.
Things got thrown out of windows – my friend’s windscreen was cracked by a coin thrown from a height.
There was quite a bit of drug related crime – there was a murder in my block and a stabbing next door
Erith Park has created a striking new gateway to Erith - setting a precedent for the area encouraging community cohesion and social diversity.
We know that perceptions of a neighbourhood, by both residents and people in the surrounding area, can lag behind the pace of physical transformation. So we engaged in a proactive communications campaign to ensure that the good news about the regeneration was shared with the wider community.
Our activities included:
We believe that the success of this approach has been demonstrated by the high demand for our new homes for both rent and sale. As a result, we have 400-plus applicants for each advertised rental home, and all outright and shared ownership homes sold ahead of programme.
Initially appraised at 15-20% below other local new build schemes because of the stigmatised location, sales values increased by around 40%, in line with other new developments. All homes were reserved or sold ahead of programme without discounting.
The new name and identity of Erith Park has been broadly adopted in the area, and there is little evidence of cynicism about the reality of the transformation.
This is what our residents tell us now…
It’s 100% different.
People out on balconies wave to each other and I acknowledge my neighbours in the street.
Friends tell me they like the look of the new homes – especially the balconies.
It’s down to the people who live here now to take a pride in the place and keep it looking this good.
The transformational effect of Erith Park reaches beyond our development site. We asked shoppers in Erith how they felt the development had affected Erith generally, with 88% saying Erith Park had had a positive effect on Erith and the surrounding area, and 48% said it had been a very positive effect.