Twelve years to the day after work first started, Mayor of Islington Councillor Rakhia Ismail joined residents, community groups and delivery partners to celebrate the completion of Packington Estate’s regeneration.
Cutting the ribbon in one of the new Islington Squares the Mayor marked the official completion of the scheme, commenting: “A safe, well built and welcoming home is a cornerstone on which individuals and families can build a better quality of life, access the services they need and gain greater independence. This is the contrast between the old Packington estate and what we see here on this special day, 12 years after work first started. It is with great pleasure that I am here to celebrate this event and I am certain that this community and the people who live here will continue to flourish in their new homes.”
Embodying the spirit of Islington and underpinned by a commitment to forward-thinking design and innovation, Packington has gone from neglected corner of north London to one of the capital’s most envied addresses.
The estate’s masterplan, led by partners the Hyde Group and Rydon in partnership with the local community, has transformed what was once run down concrete slab blocks into nearly 800 new welcoming houses and apartments, green spaces and community facilities in a reinstated Victorian street pattern.
By working with existing residents, the development has been tailored to meet their requirements and those of the wider community. This included replacing unpopular bedsits and one-bedroom apartments with 490 affordable homes (62%), 135 of which are family homes that have 3, 4, 5 or 6 bedrooms.
The event brought local residents and project partners together with circus-themed activities and entertainment including dance, art and craft workshops, circus street performers, food trucks and a raffle to support local good causes.
Mark Mitchener, Managing Director of Rydon Construction, commented: “This project perfectly demonstrates what can be achieved when local councils, housing associations and delivery partners work together with local people to help tackle the housing crisis. We are proud to have worked alongside our partner Hyde and the Packington community to deliver these homes and new facilities to a very high quality.”
Bernice Ramchandani, Head of Construction for the Hyde Group, added: “Successful housing regeneration is not achieved by just getting the design of the homes and facilities right. It’s about creating sustainable neighbourhoods and I am extremely proud of our partnership approach to regeneration and the positive relationships we continue to have with our residents, Rydon and Islington Council, which has made the delivery of such a transformational project a pleasure to lead.”
Jan Durbridge, Chair of the Packington Resident’s Board, added: “We are immensely proud of Packington. The partnership approach needed to deliver a multi award winning scheme like this is not easy, but the results are stunning. On behalf of all of the residents I would like to thank all of those involved in its masterplan, delivery and for making it such a special neighbourhood.”
Situated on the bank of Regent’s Canal, innovative design blends seamlessly with the local architectural vernacular, while high-quality materials and specification means homes are future-proofed and suitable for 21st century living.
A balanced, tenure-blind community has been created, with green public spaces, and no visible differences between social and private housing. Packington is now no longer cut off from the areas which surround it, but part of the diverse and socially inclusive Islington community.
Innovative employment initiatives formed an integral part of the estate’s economic regeneration including the first ever Prince’s Trust ‘Get into Construction’ programme to be held on a live construction site, with dozens of trainees and apprentices having secured work experience through the scheme.
Situated a stone’s throw from Angel, the scheme is seen nationally as a shining example of regeneration, most recently winning a National Housing Award this month for Best Regeneration Scheme.
The judges praised the scheme for its “commitment to affordable homes and for seeing so much social rent in a mixed tenure scheme” and that “it represents the very best of residential-led regeneration”.