St Raphael's Estate infill plans goes ahead but regeneration 'not off the table'

St Raphael's Estate is in Neasden (Pic credit: Google)

St Raphael's Estate is in Neasden - Credit: Google

Raheem Sterling’s boyhood estate in Neasden could still be demolished after the council suggested these plans were “not off the table”. 

Brent Council leader Cllr Muhammed Butt said the “complete regeneration” of the deprived St Raphael’s Estate could still be an option in the future. 

It comes as the council’s cabinet approved a series of “infill” developments at the site, with no current homes set to be replaced. 

The council had intended to ballot those living on the estate about its future – with options including bulldozing and rebuilding or partial refurbishment. 

It noted the prospect of demolishing the estate and starting again was currently “unaffordable” and it will press ahead with building a limited number of new homes

Cllr Butt said at the meeting on October 11: “It’s absolutely crystal clear in our minds about what needs to be done and how we’re going to do it. 

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“I want to give the assurance that complete regeneration is definitely not off the table. 

“We’ve had to park it at the moment because the funding situation has changed in terms of getting it for replacement properties.

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“When it comes to the renewal of the estate – if it was a gap of around £20 million we perhaps could have managed it, but we’re looking at a gap of £105 million, £110 million, if not more.

“The commitment from us is 100 per cent that we continue to work with all our partners at St Raph’s.”

Asif Zamir, chairman of residents’ group St Raphael’s Voice, said those living on the estate were “disappointed” the opportunity for further improvements had hit a stumbling block. 

He suggested the current plans do not go far enough and said the group would continue to “hold the council to account” over the future of the area.

Asif told the cabinet meeting: “I want to express the sheer, heartfelt disappointment of not having an option or opportunity to vote for change that would have been, for many, truly, positively life-changing. 

“I have always wondered how many of you know St Raph’s. Not of; but really know St Raph’s. 

“How many of you understand the plight of residents? How many of you understand that residents were, and are still, screaming out for change. 

“We understand the council’s position on financial risk and viability. We remain positive that there will be light at the end of this proverbial tunnel, which is infill-plus." 

Asif added he hopes to see the council follow through on its promises and give the estate “the investment it is crying out for”. 

He said this should not only cover new homes but improvements to the area’s public realm and a push for improved community and sports facilities. 

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