School teacher and mum-of-five Helen Snape lived on the Lesnes Estate for 11 years. First built in the 60s and 70s, the homes on the Lesnes Estate unfortunately suffer from problems because of the way they were constructed, meaning the homes and public spaces need to be regenerated. In March 2020 we received a 70% vote in favour of the Lesnes regeneration programme in a residents’ ballot, and Helen is one of the residents who has moved a stone’s throw away to Southmere, our newest Thamesmead development where we’ve recently completed the first phase of construction.
We paid Helen a visit at her new home to find out what the move meant to her and her family.
“I didn’t want to move far because of the children’s schools, and my workplace is just up the road, so I was pleased to be moving into a bigger property in the same community,” said Helen, who’s oldest son we rehoused to a flat just a short walk from her new home.
“There's a strong community spirit and we want to help Foster that,” said our Thamesmead Project Director Matthew Foulis. “We've done all we can to keep the community together.”
Southmere has recently welcomed 130 new properties with thousands more to follow, and is home to a public square (Cygnet Square) a playground, a new library (The NEST) and a playable water fountain. A recent cultural commission is seeing Cygnet Square host a series of events and activities for residents until March 2022, making Southmere an ideal home for families like Helen’s.
“It’s got a feel of community. I think it’s going to be nice – a new development with everyone moving in together,” she said. “We were very cramped before and I was sharing a room with my youngest son, so I think we’ll be happier as a family now.”