Robin Hood Gardens not to be listed

By John Hill on May 15, 2009 11:48 AM |


The Government is to stand by its original decision not to list Robin Hood Gardens.

The brutalist housing estate is now clear to make way for the Blackwall Reach project after an appeal by the Twentieth Century Society was dismissed this week.

In backing his predecessor's views on the subject last year, secretary of state Andy Burnham announced that the estate "does not have the special architectural and historic interest required to merit listing".

Culture minister Margaret Hodge decided the 1970s Poplar estate did not merit listing back in July last year, claiming it was "not fit for purpose". But the Government was forced to review its decision following an appeal from the Twentieth Century Society citing errors in the consultation and decision-making process.

In a letter sent to the society on Wednesday, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport concluded that "on balance, Robin Hood Gardens as a whole was not successful housing and consequently not a particularly good example of housing design."

He also argued there was "insufficient evidence to demonstrate the listing decision underestimated the innovation of the estate."

The report concluded in saying that the secretary of state "will not consider Robin Hood Gardens for addition to the statutory list for a period of five years."

Robin Hood Gardens was championed by architects around the country such as Dan Cruickshank and Sir Richard Rogers. Trade digest Building Design ran a campaign calling for the restoration of the structure, while the New York Times even sent its architecture critic to E14 to cast an eye over the estate.

English Heritage was less impressed, claiming last year that "it fails as a place for human beings to live". Many residents interviewed by The Wharf last year were also keen for change, with some saying the estate had been "left to rot".

Following this week's decision, Blackwall and Cubitt Town councillor Tim Archer said: "It's about time too.

"The people I feel sorry for are the residents who have had to put their plans on hold, not knowing what's going to happen to the estate.

"At last the block has been removed so the council and residents can decide jointly what the best thing is for the estate. We're very disappointed that it's taken so long to come to this decision.

"There are lots of issues now to be worked through, but at least this is one question that's been answered."