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Thursday, 25 April, 2002, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Changing face of Damilola estate
Annette Pallas
Annette Pallas does not want her old home demolished

On the North Peckham estate the stairwell where Damilola Taylor bled to death is still standing.

It is boarded up but could not be demolished until the trial was over.

But nearby a regeneration plan is under way on the estate and its four close neighbours, known locally as the Five Estates.

When BBC News Online first visited, soon after Damilola died, the blocks of flats on the North Peckham estate were still home to thousands.

But over the past year more than 500 flats on the Five Estates have been demolished by the Peckham Partnership, a Southwark Council-led body responsible for redeveloping the area.

North Peckham estate
The stairwell where Damilola died has not yet been demolished

The demolition is part of a major redevelopment plan to tackle a lack of security and poor housing conditions which were highlighted at the time of Damilola's death.

'People don't change'

Around the estate opinions differ on the new look.

Jermaine Mangal, 18, who has lived in the area all his life, is not convinced the facelift will achieve anything positive.

"It looks nice but it's not going to improve the area because it doesn't change people's way of thinking.

The North Peckham estate had a community, this has got nothing

Beryl Long

"Robberies, killings - it doesn't matter what they do to the area it will still happen," said Mr Mangal.

But fear of street crime is not a big worry for Jacqueline Gosling who lives on Blakes Road, just yards from where Damilola Taylor died.

Ms Gosling told BBC News Online she had no hesitations about letting her two young children play outside on the street.

"I feel safe here, there are no burglaries or anything like that. I'm most worried that my children might run out in front of a car," she said.

Lack of community

Ms Gosling is a relative newcomer to the North Peckham estate, having only lived there for two years.

But many of those who spent years in the old flats are now getting used to new accommodation.

Beryl Long
Beryl Long: "Missing community spirit"

From her front door Beryl Long can watch builders prepare the block of flats where she lived for 14 years for demolition.

Mrs Long said she liked her new one-bedroom maisonette and was pleased to have a garden but still missed her previous home.

"The North Peckham estate had a community, this has got nothing," Mrs Long said.

But security was better around her new home with regular police patrols, she added.

Lola Diko also lives in a newly-built maisonette after 13 years in a flat on the old North Peckham estate.

She thinks the renovations have changed the area for the better.

We didn't want to move, we wanted our old places refurbished

Annette Pallas

"Things have improved quite a lot over the past year. It's better than what it used to be and I feel safe here at night now," she said

'Private buyers'

But with around 10% of redevelopment not yet complete, some tenants from the Five Estates are still waiting to be permanently re-housed.

One such is Annette Pallas who, for 26 years, lived in a three-bedroom flat on the Gloucester Grove estate.

Mrs Pallas told BBC News Online people had been misled into thinking they would soon be given a new permanent home.

"We were told: 'You can watch this plot because it's yours, you'll be able to watch your new houses grow'.

Chandler Way, SE15
Old flats are making way for new homes
"One day we went by and there were curtains up at the windows and we found out those houses had been sold to private buyers.

"We were told that all the new building would be for tenants of the Five Estates alone but what we've had to put up with is nothing but lies," Mrs Pallas said.

A few streets away from Mrs Pallas' temporary home are the offices of the Peckham Partnership.

Its head, Russell Proffitt, said measures to help people like Mrs Pallas were already in place.

"I think 60-70% of people in the area would be reasonably satisfied but inevitably, on something as grand as this, you would get objections.

"You've just got to deal with those on a positive basis," Mr Proffitt said.

The work on the Five Estates was just a small part of a 300m seven-year overhaul of the entire Peckham area, Mr Proffitt added.

Find out more about the Damilola Taylor murder trial

Not guilty verdict

The fallout





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