My estate in Harrow has been through unbelievable changeby Carole Bell / May 23, 2018 / Leave a comment
Prior to 2002, “Regeneration” was a new word to most of the tenants and residents of the Rayners Lane Estate, a very run down council owned estate, in the London Borough of Harrow.
I had moved to the estate in 1978 into a flat where there was no central heating or double glazing. If the wind blew outside, the curtains inside my flat blew around. It was all downhill from there! Twenty years later, when frankly I felt all hope had gone, came the news that a Housing Association named Home Group were interested in regenerating our estate.
We had to vote on whether we wanted Home Group to take over the running of the estate or not. The majority of us said yes, which meant our old homes would be demolished, and new, affordable homes would be built in their place. It all sounded too good to be true, but the majority of us went along with it. After all, what did we have to lose? The estate was in total disrepair. There were no facilities for adults or children. Play areas for the children had deteriorated to a single bench in an otherwise empty space.
One of the first things Home Group did was to build The Beacon, which would gradually become a fully functional community centre. When first built, all the regeneration staff for the Rayners Lane Project had offices there. No more trying to get through to faceless people on the telephone. Home Group staff were instantly available, and always had time to listen to our queries.
Regeneration would be done in phases. Because we had land space available, Phase one would start with the building of new homes, then the tenants would be moved into their new homes and the old homes would be demolished, making way for Phase two. This would continue until everybody had new homes.
There were however, groups of people who still voiced concerns. Moving is a very stressful event, both physically and emotionally. Families with children worried that schooling would be disrupted if they had to move off the estate while their new home was being built. Home Group assured them that it wouldn’t be the case.
Then the consultations began, and we were consulted about everything. For example, did we want balconies? Yes we…