The area outlined in red above is the regeneration area. You can see the existing Robin Hood Gardens in the middle, with the large green area separating the two buildings designed by Alison and Peter Smithson.
The site is pretty much an urban island, to the south is the Docklands Light Railway, to the west is Cotton Street - a pretty grim major road that is currently cut off from the estate by a huge concrete wall - and to the east is the Blackwall Tunnell Northern Approach Road. I think the name just about says it all, it's not a friendly place.
When I arrived at the pubic exhibition, organised by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets together with the Homes & Communities Agenc, it wasn't too busy. Though I believe they had quite a bit of interest over the four hours (!!) it was open.
Between them the clients have condemned the Smithson's buildings to be demolished. Robin Hood Gardens was granted with immunity from listing after successfull campaigning from the council.
The first plans I looked at were Swan Housing and Countryside Properties, who worked with masterplanners Aedas. Architecture firms Jestico & Whiles and Glenn Howells will be drawing up detailed design of individual buildings.
They are proposing to build 1,621 new dwellings.
I think this last image just about says it all.
Is this really better than what's there now? Will this stand the test of time?
Anyway, here is the second set of proposals from housing association London & Quadrant and Telford Homes. They are working with HTA and Squire & Partners.
The massing is similar to the Swan scheme. In this view from the northern end of the site you can see the lower buildings in the foreground (where there will also be a new mosque), leading to the towers at the southern end of the site. The tallest tower here would be 41 storeys tall.
Again, the green area is in roughly the same place as it is now.
The council is expected to make a decision on which plans to go ahead with as early as next week.
The proposals really are not too dissimilar. And having spoken to residents down there, neither option seems particularly appealing to the locals - all of whom will be "decanted" to new housing in the next ten years.
Given Tower Hamlet's past record in such circumstances, it is unlikely that once the community is broken up that it will ever come back together again.
Sad times indeed.