Councillors have signed off on plans to bulldoze and rebuild a “squalor” estate in Woolwich months after demolition was pencilled to start.

The accommodation in Morris Walk “cannot be defended” according to council leader Dan Thorpe, whose cabinet approved plans to demolish the estate last night – a year after redevelopment was due.

In 2013, Lovell was tasked with redeveloping three rundown Woolwich housing estates in a £269m deal.

The project will see 1,064 homes in the Connaught, Morris Walk and Maryon Road and Grove estates demolished and replaced with 1,500 new properties.

However, councillors were left “beyond disappointed” when start dates for Morris Walk were missed by Lovell, which had been set to start demolition in Autumn.

As councillors now sign off on the demolition, ward councillor John Fahy said the authority “must play hardball” to get the project underway and avoid further delays.

The Woolwich Riverside councillor said: “I remain concerned about the project and the demolition costs of £14m remain a challenge.

“The pressure is likely to be for a start date for the development which is not in sight. There is likely to be pressure on the council, we have 19,000 plus on the waiting list.

“We cannot allow Lovell to set the agenda. This is our land – the council needs to play hardball in getting them into a position to start the development.”

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No start date has yet been announced, but councillors said they are keen to get it underway as soon as possible.

Cabinet member for housing, Chris Kirby, said he would be as transparent as he could with residents.

He said: “When we were informed the build date wouldn’t be met, disappointed didn’t cover my feelings to that. We were badly let down by Lovell. We are in a difficult negotiation in bringing the build date forward.

“There is a huge amount of frustration around the start date of the project, when we have concrete info to share we will do.

“We want that start date to be as soon as possible. We are working to mitigate the fallout of where we are to make it better as soon as possible for residents.

“I would be happy to join residents and have a public meeting to  engage and be as transparent and forthcoming with information as I possibly can.”

Neighbours, who have previously said they felt “forgotten”, have been left in limbo in between delays, with the site becoming derelict and anti-social.

Previous complaints at Morris Walk – a 562-home estate built in the 1960s – include drug dealing, uncollected rubbish and leaking roofs.

Leader Dan Thorpe said on Wednesday night there was no defending the state of accommodation on the estate.

He said: “This estate was exempted from the Decent Homes programme. That means we have people living in accommodation that is not up to scratch and we can’t defend.

“Going forward I want to be clear that we want residents in decent, affordable, high quality housing.

“For a whole range of reasons this is where we find ourselves, but we can’t defend squalor. For that estate we need to stand up for a decent standard of housing.”