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Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Tuesday, 3 August 2010 15:53 UK
Residents say Ashford's Stanhope estate is transformed
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BBC South East's Peter Whittlesea visits the Stanhope estate in Ashford

One of Kent's most infamous estates has been completely transformed, according to the people who live there.

The Stanhope Estate in Ashford was built in the 1960s as overspill housing to relieve the pressure on over-populated London boroughs.

It has suffered with anti-social behaviour over the years.

Now, work to replace more than 400 flats with houses is almost complete and council tenants and home owners have had their homes refurbished.

Stanhope was built using what was known as the Radburn design, which is comprised of cul-de-sacs, and blocks of flats.

Stanhope old houses
Houses built in the 1960s have been replaced with modern social housing

It was a very inward-looking design and over the years there were growing problems with deprivation and a general decline in the standard of the housing stock.

To tackle these problems Ashford Borough Council came up with a private finance initiative with a consortium of housing providers brought in to replace the worst blocks and refurbish the remaining council owned homes.

The contract was signed on 16 April 2007 and work began the following day.

Some of the old blocks of flats have been demolished and replaced with better-quality housing, while the old council houses, desperately in need of refurbishment, have been given makeovers.

Stanhope resident Palma Laughton MBE is a local councillor and former chair of Stanhope Parish Council.

Pam was awarded her MBE in June 2010 for the work she has done to help turn things round in Stanhope. One of the changes she is most proud of is the brand new, 6ft wooden fences put up to give each council resident a secure and private front yard.

Palma Laughton
Stanhope resident Palma Loughton believes the estate has improved

Palma is certain that Stanhope's turned a corner. "The flats were horrendous...you had to pass a lot of people's doors and windows to get from one end to the other and all the stairwells were absolutely dreadful."

Joyce Grace, a long-term resident of Stanhope who has had her bathroom and downstairs toilet replaced, said: "When I first moved here the sink was literally hanging off and I kept complaining about it but nothing was done, I just left it in the end it just got on my nerves."

Now the sink and the upstairs bathroom have been replaced. She said: "It is all new, the whole lot, it's really nice and I really do appreciate it."

The estate's shops have also been relocated from the centre of a group of cul-de-sacs to a main road, where they can pick up more passing trade.

Their old site is being replaced by a small park and a community centre, which already houses a library.




SEE ALSO
Stanhope revamp becomes a reality
20 Apr 07 |  Kent
Demolition of 1960s flats begins
27 Oct 04 |  Kent

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