The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Buildings at risk

Alton Estate, Roehampton

Status: Regeneration masterplan scrapped (2022)

Allbrook House and Roehampton Library, Alton Estate, Roehampton, Diamond Geezer, Flickr

‘The best low-cost housing in the world’  was how the American critic G E Kidder-Smith described Alton West, the development in Roehampton, SW London, on the edge of Richmond Park, designed by the London County Council Architects Department in 1955-59. Covering a large site with ancient trees and sloping views of Richmond Park, the Alton East and West estates were world famous in their time and have become an enduring exemplar of C20 design, recognised by Conservation Area status and the clutch of Grade II* and Grade II listings within in its bounds. Their beauty lies in the fusion of a variety of modern housing types  with pre-existing landscaping, public sculpture and social facilities. Unfortunately the conservation designation excluded the area at the end of Danebury Avenue where it meets Roehampton Lane, which includes Allbrook House, Roehampton Library and blocks of maisonettes and shops, although C20 has for several years made a case for their significance in the masterplan for the estate. This undesignated area is now at risk following the decision by Wandsworth Council to appoint Redrow to redevelop the estate at higher density. Detailed plans are being considered by the London Borough of Wandsworth. C20 is objecting to these.

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