Manchester developer has been shortlisted to redevelop rundown Packington Estate in Islington, north London
Developer Urban Splash is in line to win its first big scheme in the capital after it was shortlisted to revamp a rundown estate in north London.
The firm, which is well known for regenerating rundown city estates in the north of England, has been shortlisted with two other consortiums to redevelop the Packington Estate in Islington.
The 500-unit estate, which has several six-storey tower blocks, hit the headlines last year when it was revealed that its construction did not meet safety requirements for gas explosions in tall buildings. A study by architect Sam Webb
last April suggested that the tower blocks at Packington could suffer the same fate as Ronan Point, east London, which partially collapsed in May 1968 after a gas explosion.
Urban Splash, which is run by Tom Bloxham, is bidding alongside registered social landlord Southern Housing Group. They are up against rivals from Circle 33 Housing Group and housing association Hyde Group. The scheme is understood to be worth more than £75m.
Urban Splash‘s chief executive Jonathan Falkingham, who is working on the bid, has already shortlisted four top regeneration architects to work with it on the scheme. They are Proctor Matthews, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Feilden Clegg Bradley and John Thompson & Partners.
A source close to the Urban Splash bid said the project would aim to replace 558 flats with about 700 apartments, selling the extra units to help pay for the social housing on the site.
The source added: “Urban Splash’s experience up to date is in and around Manchester, but that experience is in similar regeneration schemes.”
The Packington Estate was built in 1969 – one of the first to be constructed after the disaster at Ronan Point, when a gas leak led to an explosion that blew out precast concrete panels. This in turn caused a progressive collapse down one side of the building that killed four people.
Building Regulations were changed to ensure that concrete slabs on large panel systems could withstand explosions, and the Packington Estate ought to have been strengthened – but the work was never carried out. Last year an investigation by Islington council found that “the buildings do not meet current requirements”.
The winning bidder will be picked by a panel of Islington council members and local residents.
Council leader Steve Hitchins said: “We have an opportunity to create a brand new estate for the 21st century that will contribute to the ongoing regeneration of our borough.”