As regeneration plans for the Alton Estate in Roehampton move inexorably closer, the society is growing increasingly concerned about the fate of the large vulnerable area of land and buildings which lie outside the conservation area.
Right at the heart of the estate, where Alton East meets Alton West, the London County Council’s architects carefully tied the buildings here into the ancient High Street of Roehampton Village, adding a library and more shops to the facilities of the High Street. Over the library, Allbrook House, referred to by its architects as a ‘marker block’, is a main focal point of the estate, regarded by many as one of the most important post war housing programmes in the country.
The society threw its weight behind the listing of Allbrook House back in 2015 and argued for a conservation area that embraces the estate as a whole, but our recommendations on what to conserve were side-lined – yet another example of how the systems put in place to protect our heritage are working poorly for mid 20th-century heritage.
Wandsworth Council has appointed property developer Redrow to redevelop the estate and have released a masterplan for development. It is understood that more detailed plans for the site will be presented to Wandsworth’s planning committee within the next few weeks.
The Society will be watching developments closely while renewing our opposition to the demolition of Allbrook Hose and the Library, and urging Wandsworth Council to ensure that any development plans respect the integrity of the whole of this very important estate.
The architectural heritage of the site includes influences from Swedish housing projects during the war and from younger architects in the fifties who were inspired by Le Corbusier’s unité d’habitation in Marseille.