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The Ocean Estate, Tower Hamlets

In 2010 the East Thames consortium (East Thames and Bellway Homes) was selected to carry out a £220m programme of works to transform the Ocean Estate in Stepney. Neighbouring East Thames’ 500-home Grand Union Place scheme, it gave us a chance to further regenerate this part of east London.

It’s been full speed ahead since then – good news for an estate which has been earmarked for regeneration for more than a decade.Between 2010 and March 2014 we:

  • Developed 819 new homes on the estate, across five sites.

  • Refurbished 1200 existing council homes – both internal works such as new kitchens and bathrooms and external works such as new windows and roofs.

  • Improved the landscaping for the entire estate.

  • Developed new community facilities.

  • Provided a range of social and regeneration processes, including construction training and employment opportunities

East Thames has developed the largest of the five sites, (site E/Vivo) building 462 new homes in three new urban blocks to create a visually striking scheme. It has built around landscaped courtyards and home zones, with high quality new homes in a variety of unit types and tenures.

Ranging from one bedroom flats through to five bedroom family maisonettes, 195 have been sold on the private market at Vivo, and the remaining 267 available through social rent and shared ownership opportunities. In addition, about 10% of the affordable homes have been designed to be suitable for wheelchair users.

357 new homes have been built by Bellway on the other four sites; 119 of which are affordable homes which have been purchased by East Thames.

Next steps

The next step of the Ocean Estate regeneration programme is the transformation of Site H. Site H is located in Aston Street in Stepney and falls within the larger area known as the Ocean Estate which extends from Mile End Road in the north to Aston Street in the south and from Regent’s Canal in the East to Stepney Green in the west. The site is located at the south-eastern boundary of the Ocean Estate and is immediately adjacent to Whitehorse Road Open Space.

The site is currently occupied by three 10-storey residential towers; Allonby, Channel and Studland Houses. The towers are of pre-fabricated concrete construction and comprise 40 apartments in each tower. The towers are to be replaced with 225 new homes.

The existing towers, originally known as Urban Block H, formed part of a wider regeneration of LBTH retained stock which completed in 2013.
As part these earlier regeneration proposals, the three residential towers on Urban Block H were identified for refurbishment. However, upon review and further investigation, a number of structural issues were identified which made the cost, and practicality of rectifying the buildings to a suitable standard, prohibitive.
Subsequently, the three towers and their communal open spaces were considered for demolition and new build to provide affordable homes to contemporary standards.
The towers were transferred to Higgins for demolition in March 2015.