Chronology of events

Historical background

- 1960's - London County Council / Greater London Council - Architects: Ted Hollamby (Chief Architect). Area of Pepys Estate development 45 acres and to provide 1,324 homes at an estimated cost of 7m.

Four main types of building:

- three 24 storey blocks of maisonettes on an interlocking plan which resembles an open pair of scissors;
- ten 8 storey maisonettes, running through the length of the site providing continuity, a link from park to river, and a horizontal contrast to the tower blocks;
- 3 storey flats in colonnades near the river front giving a visual link into the site;
- 4 storey flats including an old peoples homes, grouped around the central amenities of the site.


12 1/2 acres of open space;
a car-free shopping centre;
garages under 8 storey blocks;
parking spaces;
a tenants club room;
a youth club;
an old people's clubroom;
a maternity and child welfare clinic;
Deptford Park primary school to be enlarged for the children of the estate;
an old people's home.


separation of pedestrian from vehicular traffic, elevated walkways;
new roads to bring into the estate, involving a new road bridge;
preserve the nautical and historical character of the site;
a promenade by the river front;
commanding views including London's docklands and the Greenwich Naval College;
the block names enshrine three centuries of history.

- 1966/7 - Scheme won British Award for Architecture.
Commended by Civic Trust as "an impeccable scheme".

(Key document - Pepys Estate a GLC housing project).

- 1980's - Lewisham Council take over Pepys Estate from GLC - debt free.

- 1980's - Estate deteriorates due to letting policies and poor management. Problems with overhead walkways, no security to individual blocks, original residents (vetted) begin to move away. Increased number of teenagers on the Estate with 'nothing to do'. Rise is crime, vandalism, drugs, etc.

Refugees, asylum seekers, often placed on large estates like Pepys as first location. Around 70 different languages spoken on Pepys (quoted in research background for 1992 report).

Estate Action - Government policy - John Gummer (Housing Minister)/Michael Heseltine (Department of the Environment)

- Early 1990's Estate Action bid put together by Lewisham to regenerate inner city problem estates.
Phase 1 approved by DOE in December 1992 to run until 1999 (7 years)
- estimated total cost 28.658m plus 1.85m for Community Refurbishment Scheme (CRS).
In addition partnerships with Family Housing Association and Deptford City Challenge, give overall resources of 39m.

(Key document - Lewisham Housing [Investment & Property] Sub-Committee 9th June 1998, Part 1 Agenda).
(Key document - Lewisham Housing [Investment & Property] Sub-Committee 28th October 1998, Part 1 Agenda ).

(Later GOL extends scheme for 2 additional years without any alterations to funding, now 1992 through to 2001 (not 1999).

- Local residents involved in determining the renovation programme to be undertaken through an innovative 'Planning for Real' exercise - tenants, councillors, officers, experts all work together and respect each others position.

(Key document - Hazie, McCormack &Young report and Appendix - 1992)

- Residents in favour of rehabilitation rather than demolition. John Gummer visits estate in person (1993), as application unusual as it involves no demolition.
Other regeneration schemes across the country mainly demolish and rebuild.

- 1992 - Renovation contract starts. Time schedule planned aa a series of consecutive 'Phases'.
Works under Estate Action :-
- Double glazing
- Security doors to entrance for each separate block of flats
- Security doors to entrance for each level
- Interior fittings in kitchen area, ventilation
- Balconies renovated and metal fittings replacing wooden ones
- External cladding for tower blocks
- Flat roof renovation work
- Some connecting walkways taken down
- Environmental works

- Small parade of existing shops on first floor level, and Merrick House (42 flats) demolished. Replaced by new ground level shops. Tenants Hall demolished and replaced with new 2000 Community Centre.
(Items not included in Estate Action are :- Lifts, connecting walkway enclosure, CCTV, dust chutes, electrical rewiring - because these come under Housing Investment Programme [HIP]).

- 1998 - Renovation works stopped leaving five low rise blocks and one tower block to complete, all located on the north side of Pepys Estate, and all having direct views to the river Thames:

- Limberg House (32 flats), Dolben Court (52 flats), Barfleur House (32 flats). All 3 storey blocks built on stilts, with 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms. Underground garage space for the latter 2 blocks.
- Marlowe House (53 flats) and Millard House (53 flats).
The latter are both 8 storey blocks built on scissors principle, with garden areas at ground level facing main Pepys Park, eight per block. Accommodation provides 1, 2, 3, and a small number of 4 bedrooms. Rear facing ground level with garages integral to the block.
These two blocks are identical to another 8 blocks, each of 53 flats (see GLC architects specification at the top of this document). - In total 222 flats.
- Aragon Tower 144 flats, all 2 bedroom maisonettes - identical to 2 other towers on the estate, Daubeny Tower and Eddystone Tower.

Note: Enterprise Centre workshop units were built to accompany the basement area in Dolben Court. An atruim was funded with European money. Now occupied as rented by artists, musicians, etc.

Note: Marlowe and Millard are identical blocks to Pelican and Harmon, in construction and style, the latter being the last two 8 storey blocks completed under Estate Action.

- Estimate that 28m Estate Action money available for construction works. Estimate that 6m still available to be spent in 1998 (at the time of the 'Review'). Sufficient to entirely complete the Estate Action works to the remaining five low rise blocks and the tower block (as listed above).

Note: Limberg and Dolben had some Estate Action money spent on them with central heating, double-glazing and security doors fitted. Marlowe and Millard had central heating and security doors fitted. Only Barfleur received no works at all, apart from flat roof renewal.

- 1998 Review of Estate Action works by Lewisham Council.
- Survey of all tenants on the Estate (not just those effected by the Review).
Conducted by an independent research company PPCR Associates, published April 1999.
Fieldwork carried out between 6th and 29th March 1999.
A 100% sample consisting of 1,373 properties, with 55 properties excluded as inhabited by Asylum Seekers.
799 interviews successfully completed, with 57 households refusing to be interviewed.
Overall response rate was therefore 65%.
Confidence level calculated as + or - 2.9.

Survey documentation results were not made available to tenants.
Obtained a copy later on the 26th October 2000 through Pepys Community Forum.

Survey conducted took up to an hour to complete by each tenant/resident interviewed. Includes questions on a variety of issues, as well as basic sociological data. Estate Action Review options only a small part.

Tenants organisations - Pepys Neighbourhood Committee and Pepys Regeneration Forum - object to Survey format and not able to put own questions into it.

4 options put forward, only one of which is 'stay as you are' - complete Estate Action.

Survey results are inconclusive - e.g,
39% (?) in favour of a demolition option,
31% in favour of seeing refurbishment (only one option for this).

Lewisham subsequently use a 65% response rate figure, and do not quote any actual figures in their documents put to councillors.

Full Survey results not made available to tenants (although obtained at a much later date).

Some interesting results :-

Section 1 - Qu.7 : Overall satisfaction levels - 51% satisfied with their
homes, a further 22% said OK.
Section 2 - Qu.1 : General block condition - 67% satisfactory.
Section 3 - Qu.1 : General condition - 31% satisfied, a further 46% OK.
Section 4 - Qu 1 : Option A - Estate Action programmes to continue - 31%
Option D - Disposal of Aragon and demolition - 39% (not
clear on true figure with copy).

- 1998/1999 - Lewisham Council conduct information meetings, questionnaires to separate blocks, i.e, Aragon Tower, Barfleur, Albemarle, Dolben.
- Circulate figure of 3.2m to be 'released' from Estate Action by not refurbishing Aragon Tower (to then be spent elsewhere on the Estate).
- Remainder of the Estate have already had Estate Action completed, some for over 6/7 years, when the Review is undertaken.

- 9th December 1998 - Mecury Newspaper article - 'Save Our Homes' group.

- 26th January 1999 - Pepys Neighbourhood Committee - 9 pages - a key discussion.

- 28th January 1999 - Pepys Regeneration Forum - 7 pages - a key discussion.

- 27th February 1999 - Public meeting - old Tenants Hall - Chaired by Tiri Oyawole. 14 pages - a key discussion of the issues.

- April 29th 1999 - Decision taken by emergency Sub-Committee (only 2 councillors) of the then Housing Committee to demolish the five blocks, and to sell of Aragon Tower; to a 'social landlord'. Hyde Housing Association 'selected' as the housing association partner. Selling price estimated as 1m by Lewisham.
- 1999 (month ?) - Without consulting tenants, Lewisham Council commissions an 'Architectural Competition' for the design and rebuild of properties on the site of the proposed demolition of the five blocks.
- The 'brief' (not seen to this date!) indicates that a very similar number of properties should replace those demolished.
- All built 'down to the ground'.
- Remove existing underground garages and pedestrian walkways,
- To include a good number of family homes of 3 and 4 bedroom, as 'houses with gardens', as well as flats.
- Architects are PRP, Shaw/Sprunt and BPTW.

- 1999 (month) - Open Day held, at very short notice (5/6 days) in old Tenants Hall (now itself demolished). From verbal comments and numbers speaking to the 3 architectural groups, 2 submissions are very similar and indicate addressing a tight brief - PRP and Shaw/Sprunt. One is very different - BPTW.
The latter is the least well received, and although it provokes some interest is discounted by many people because it provides fewer houses with gardens, and indicates new high rise blocks.

- January 2000 - Formation of Steering Committee for Pepys Estate Action - The Action Group.
- 22 meetings held in the year of 2000.
- Attendance at Pepys Neighbourhood Committee and Pepys Regeneration Forum where support is maintained to get refurbishment rather than demolition..
- Various newspaper articles.
- Address issues of poor maintenance and repairs for the blocks concerned.
- Attendance at Lewisham Council meetings and Committees.
- Recognised as a Tenants and Residents Association in December 2000, funding from Lewisham Tenants Fund granted, after a second application.

- 13th March 2000 - Estate Action Steering Group meeting - this met only once - minutes taken by Gordon Sandifer from Pepys Neighbourhood Office.

- March 2000 to January 2001 Extracts from Pepys Regeneration Forum minutes concerning Aragon Tower and the 5 low rise blocks nominated for demolition, Limberg, Dolben, Barfleur, Marlowe and Millard.
- 31st March 2000 - Item 3.00
- 25th May 2000 - Item 3.00 and AOB Item 5.00
- 27th July 2000 - AOB Item 5.00
- 28th September 2000 - Item 2.6 and AOB Item 4.00
- 26th October 2000 - Item 2.6
- 30th November 2000 - Item 3.00
- 25th January 2001 - Item 2.00 and Item 3.00

- September 1999 to July 2000 - Extracts from Pepys Neighbourhood Committee minutes.
- 19th September 2000
- 18th July 2000 - Item 4.11
- 27th June 2000 - Item 4
- 15th June 1999 - Item 9
- 21st September 1999 - Item 7

- April 2000 - Building Successful Neighbourhoods - The Housing Commission Action Plan. Lewisham's justification for their actions by having set up an 'independent' Housing Commission to report in a manner that was in line with their own thinking. Gavin Moore, Deputy Mayor was on the Committee, it had
no tenants representatives at all. The full report is available from Lewisham Council.

- 5th April 2000 - Mercury newspaper article from TAG. 2 example posters

- May 2000 - Pepys Neighbourhood Office Annual report - including Estate Action. Gordon Sandifer.
This gives an overview report. Of particular interest is the information on Estate Action, and how the diverted funds are being used. It also identifies the name of key Officers involved. Note that Joseph Montgomery, Head of Regeneration, has now left this post.

- 17th May 2000 - Summary of Executive Committee decisions -

- May 2000 (?) - List of questions put to Lewisham via Pepys Regeneration Forum.

- 19th June 2000 - Reply to the above - Prepared by Peter Walker, Estate Action Manager
- 1st June 2000 - Email to Tiri Oyawole from Malcolm Cadman - Comments on visit by Joseph Montgomery to the Estate arranged and conducted by TAG.

- June 2000 (?) Housing Management Partnerships - report by Mary Lynch - Head of Housing policy.
This paper justifies Lewisham Councils' new approach to becoming a strategic manager of Housing stock.

- 2000 (?) - Lewisham choose a 'winner'. Without consulting tenants. This turned out to be BPTW.

- 26th July 2000 - Executive committee meeting Chaired by Gavin Moore, Deputy Mayor.
- Malcolm Cadman allowed 'five minutes' to put objections to the approval of the proposed demolition of the five blocks and disposal of Aragon tower. Objections not supported by local Councillor Lee Ming Ng.
Committee has little discussion and approves the proposal.
- TAG reply to Lewisham Council Executive Committee.

- 10th August 2000 - Circular to all residents - from Ashley Hook.

- 14th August 2000 Decant of Barfleur House - Warren Hipwood, Pepys Neighbourhood Office.
- Reply to Tiri Oyawole from Gavin Moore - re the decant of Barfleur House.

- 17th August 2000 - Reply to Malcolm Cadman's paper circulated at Executive Committee meeting 26th July 2000 - from Ashley Hook, Head of Housing.

- 2000 (?) Peter Walker, Neighbourhood Manager based at Evelyn starts to attend at Pepys Neighbourhood Committee meetings and Pepys Regeneration meetings.

- 2000 (?) - Hyde Housing begin to attend at Neighbourhood Committee meetings to present themselves and chosen architects.

- 13th September 2000 - Hyde Housing Association - via Mark Leader, organise five 'Focus Group' meetings with tenants, together with Neighbourhood Manager; at Pepys Neighbourhood Office. No minutes were kept. The Action Group attended the first one, and 3 times asked for a vote to suspend the meetings and turn down the choice of architects - BPTW. This was not accepted by the Chair of the meeting, Peter Walker. TAG did not attend any further meetings. Individual tenants did attend, although representatives were dominated by Foreshore United Neighbours.

- 5th September 2000 - Deptford Discovery proposal to Pepys Community Forum - To retain a social housing use for Aragon Tower.

- 13th September 2000, Lewisham document justifies implementing the 'recommendations'.
An Agenda for Action - Implementing the Recommendations of the Housing Commission.

- 27th September 2000 - Letter to Mercury newspaper by Tiri Oyawole, Chair of Pepys Neighbourhood Committee.

- 4th October 2000 - Pepys residents' diary of fight to keep their homes - Mercury newspaper.

- 8th November 2000 - Gavin Moores' Mercury newspaper 'advertisement - in response to the above 2 items !
This must have cost Lewisham between 5000 - 10000, as it was publishedfor 2 weeks, and is full page. It is not a 'news' story. The second publication, shown here, was headed 'Advertisement'. The first was not!

- Council Block Sell-Off plan Angers Tenants - from TAG - Mercury newspaper article.

- 30th November 2000 - Letter to Elizabeth Cooke, Foreshore United Neighbours from Gavin Moore.

Declines to attend a Regeneration forum meeting in November 2000, and clarifies that the Mercury 'advertisement' article about 'Right To Return' was a false representation of the real position - " I would emphasise that there has been no change of policy on the 'right to return' issue". This means that the tenants effected DO NOT have the Right To Return on Pepys Estate.

- January 2001 (?) Estate Action - actual 'spend' on works done.
After several months of requesting this information. This report prepared by Peter Walker, Neighbourhood Manager - Lewisham Housing, shows where the allocation of Estate Action money has been spent - 1992 to 2001.
- January 2001 - Outline planning permission submitted by Hyde Housing Association to demolish the five low-rise blocks. Proposal is for 251 flats and a new road system. All are flats with small gardens in some parts. All are built 'down to the ground' and a of 4, 6, 8, and 11 storeys.

- January / February 2001 - A number of groups from Pepys Estate send in objections to the planning application.

- March 15th 2001 - Planning and Highways Committee defers decision on application pending a site visit, vote 3 -1 in favour of a deferment of outline Planning Application DC/01/47977.
- Malcolm Cadman elected as representative and given 'five minutes' to represent the objections put forward.
Advice on planning given by a Consultant to PCF - Nick Wates.

- 7th April 2001 - 11.00am to 1.00pm - Starting from Pepys Neighbourhood Offices the Planning Committee Chair, Terry Scott, and three members tour Pepys Estate.
- Accompanied by Peter Walker, Louise Holland - Planning Officer, and John Miller - Head of Planning.
- 3 tenants allowed to accompany and show them through a guided tour devised by Malcolm Cadman as a circular route beginning through the main Pepys Park and ending at the back of Daubeny Tower :-
Jessica Leech - Chair of Pepys Community Forum, an SRB funded community led organisation; Malcolm Cadman, Secretary of TAG and Vice-Chair of PCF, also Neighbourhood Committee member; Dave Fleming, Treasurer of TAG and Treasurer of PCF, also Neighbourhood Committee member.

Briefing Note - Pepys Estate site visit (by Lewisham), some quotes :-

application to provide 252 dwellings with a mix of 1,2,3 and 4 bedrooms to be carried out in 3 phases;
extensive consultation with an Estate wide survey in March 1999, four options, preferred option 4 for demolition;
original design of the Estate was based around the concept of separating people and vehicles;
problems of the current estate layout include :

1 - Poor quality and confusing routes through the estate.
2 - Lack of accommodation at ground level and few private gardens.
3 - Poor accessibility with steps and ramps to raised public areas.
4 - Bleak podium and undercroft areas with extensive concrete surfaces.
5 - Derelict underground car parking areas create poor frontage to Foreshore.

Note: All negative points presented about the Estate, none of the positive.

- 24th April 2001 - 2.00pm to 8.00pm - Community Planning Open Day 'drop-in' session.
- Held at 2000 Community Centre, Pepys Estate.
- Jointly organised with 2000CC and PCF, supported by Nick Wates, Malcolm Cadman and Dave Fleming.
- Purpose to 'revisit' the 'Planning for Real' basis of 1992, and encourage tenants to actively participate in planning the community for themselves.
- Invitations the local tenants and their representatives, Councillors, Planning Committee members, other interested parties.

- 26th April 2001 - Planning and Highways Committee meeting. Reconsider outline Planning Application - DC/01/47977.

Mr S Greening - Chair Steering Committee Mr M Cadman - Secretary Steering Committee

On the behalf of Steering Committee for Pepys Estate Action, TAG - The Action Group

Mr S Greening - Aragon, Mr M Cadman - Marlowe, Mr D Fleming - Daubeny, Ms P Devito - Barfleur, Ms M Dunn - Barfleur, Mr L Brooks - Aragon, Ms S Jeffrey - Limberg, Mr A Djourdem - Millard, Ms T Lane - Limberg,
Ms M Sanh - Marlowe, Ms K Clark - Limberg, Ms N Nyaulingo - Aragon.