The Ledbury Estate is a major council-led housing renewal project to replace a group of structurally unsound high-rise 1960s Large Panel System (LPS) buildings located along the busy Old Kent Road, with new council homes, an upgraded Tenants and Resident’s Association (TRA) hall and mix of community uses, all embedded within a walkable and cycle-friendly bio-diverse landscape designed with amenity for all ages.
Prompted by reports of structural issues within the buildings by residents in 2017, Southwark Council carried out detailed analysis into the scope of remedial works required to repair the existing towers which informed a series of scenarios to refurbish, infill or replace buildings on the estate. In 2021, options were presented at a public ballot where 86% of residents voted for the four tower blocks to be taken down and for better quality council homes to be set in their place.
Vocal and committed to campaigning for positive changes within their neighbourhood, The Ledbury Estate Resident Group and the wider community have been at the forefront of the re-design, and through a close co-design process of regular engagement and resident design workshops, we have developed proposals that re-work the two estate sites in a way that negotiates the relationship between the industrial and high-rise architecture along the Old Kent Road to the north and the low-rise terraces within the conservation area bordering the south-west.
At the northern gateway into the estate, a mansion block, an apartment block and a striking 22-storey tower come together to enclose a large, multi-purpose garden courtyard featuring community growing and play areas, and a series of tree-lined paths that extend out to create new pedestrian connections between the Old Kent Road, Pencraig Way and Bird in Bush Park to the south-west. Here, a 14-storey apartment building, holds the corner of the site and is linked to a row of family-sized stacked maisonettes designed with deck-access and private front doors that open out onto the street.
Occupying the centre of the site fronting Old Kent Road, a distinctive octagonal 22-storey tower and its dwellings retain qualities of the old estate that the community loved, including spacious dual-aspect homes with panoramic views across the city. At the base of the building, a community hall addressing the courtyard garden is the social hub of the neighbourhood, with multi-purpose spaces that will support activities of different kinds. Valuable opportunities for civic encounter and exchange are further created along the Old Kent Road through the introduction of shops and workspaces at street level.
Across the neighbourhood’s landscape and public realm, new play and social features sit alongside a network of different tree species which help to improve bio-diversity and define thresholds between different environments.