London ghetto transformed by sustainable homes

The lives of residents on one of London's most notorious estates are being transformed with quality sustainable homes. Built in the 1970s, the Angell Town estate in Brixton rapidly acquired a reputation as a dangerous and unsafe place to live, with murders, muggings and a widespread climate of fear. Now blind alleys and dangerous cul-de-sacs have been replaced with a remodelled environment of open, safe streets with overlooking front doors and windows at street level. The centerpiece of the redevelopment is 89 award-winning new sustainable homes.The new flats reflect best practise in sustainability. Integrated solar roofs powering lighting achieve a reduction of 14 tonnes of C02 annually in Warwick House, which uses Forestry Stewardship Council-approved timber and incorporates rainwater harvesting to flush resident's toilets and water gardens.

225 flats have been refurbished. An independent study has found that residents use 40-50% less energy to heat their homes in the refurbished block where recycled newspaper insulation (Warmcel) was used as wall and roof insulation, delivering affordable warmth to residents while substantially reducing C02 emissions.

The first part of the redevelopment to open, Pym House, is open for viewing this weekend as part of London Sustainability Weeks. Architects Burrell Foley Fischer achieved FSC accreditation for the use of sustainable timber, the first contractor in the UK to do so. The architects are pictured above with residents receiving a RIBA Housing Design Award.The £76m redevelopment project has been managed by Lambeth Council Housing.

[By Simon Crerar]