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Park East demolition starts making way for new homes

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 December 2019

Site team members from Wates Residential including Glen Roberts, Operations Director, and Paul Nicholls, Managing Director. They are joined by Orbit's Maggie McCann and Caroline Field, and former residents Doreen and Mick Weekes, who attended the event with their wider family.

Site team members from Wates Residential including Glen Roberts, Operations Director, and Paul Nicholls, Managing Director. They are joined by Orbit's Maggie McCann and Caroline Field, and former residents Doreen and Mick Weekes, who attended the event with their wider family.

© Diane Auckland / Fotohaus Ltd. Moral Rights Asserted. All rights reserved

Demolition work is finally under way at the £95million Park East housing regeneration scheme in Erith.

The developers said it will deliver 320 new homes.

It was witnessed by representatives from Wates Residential, Orbit and the Bexley Council who met with former Erith-born residents, who shared some of their favourite memories of the area to mark the occasion.

Some 80 per cent of the new homes will be affordable rent and shared ownership and are on course to be finished by 2023.

Two of the guests were Erith-born Doreen and Mick Weekes, who shared some of their favourite memories of the area.

The couple, who have six grandchildren and six great grandchildren, moved into their three-bedroom maisonette on the estate, which used to be known as Arthur Street, just 18 months after they were built.

They went on to enjoy 50 happy years in the property, raising two children amongst friends and neighbours.

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Mick remembers teaching young children from the area DIY and helping to coach the Thamesmead sailing club to victory at the London Youth games.

He also shared how he had used a horse drawn plough along the Northend Road.

As part of the demolition process, Orbit helped residents find new homes close to the area. When Orbit found a two-bedroom house in Belvedere for Doreen and Mick, Doreen cried for joy.

Mick said: "Now we're settled in our new home we love it. It's cosy, quiet and we've got our own garden at last. We can still enjoy our memories of the time we lived at Arthur Street."

The builders are also helping to kick start training opportunities for local residents by hiring at least 31 apprentices and at least 25 people in full time employment from the area.

Another of the unique training and employment initiatives that Wates Residential has brought to Erith is its Building Futures programme.

This helps unemployed adults gain practical experience and employability coaching and seven students recently graduated from the two-week course with hands on construction experience.

Glen Roberts, operations director for Wates, said: "The start of demolition is a significant moment for the Park East development."

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