DEMOLITION has begun on the deprived Ferrier estate in Kidbrooke as part of plans to revamp the area.

Nearly 2,000 1970s homes will be demolished and 4,398 new ones will be built, along with a shopping centre, a school and an NHS health centre.

The 15-year project is being led by Greenwich Council in partnership with developer Berkeley Homes.

Greenwich Council hopes to tackle social deprivation in the area by creating more open spaces and moving away from the previous inward- facing block design of buildings.

Councillor Peter Brooks, deputy leader of Greenwich Council, says the start of the demolition programme marks an important milestone for the community.

He said: “I know that local residents are very keen for this scheme to progress, so it's great news that the demolition work is now underway.  “It's taken a lot of work to bring in the necessary investment.

“But we are now well on the way to creating a new urban quarter on the site of the old Ferrier Estate.

“One that will offer an attractive environment and high quality facilities for people who live, work or study here.”

Phase one of the development will consist of 449 houses and apartments, of which 220 are for private sale and 229 are affordable homes.

  Building is due to begin in the spring, with the first tenants expected to move in early in 2010.