Tearful residents watched as bulldozers moved in to start the demolition of a 1960s social housing block often used on TV show The Bill.

Work began this week on the £130m transformation of Durand Close estate in Carshalton, which will be redeveloped to include 470 new homes, of which half will be affordable.

The project is the biggest the borough has seen in 10 years.

More than 80 per cent of residents voted in favour of the project and have worked with developers and the council to design their new homes.

The estate, which historically had the highest child density in the South East, was made up of 295 three and four-bedroom flats.

Chairman of Durand Close estate residents’ association, Judy McDaid, has lived on the estate for 19-years.

She said: “It is really exciting to see work start.

"I think it will mean a better quality of life for people living here, especially for those with children.”

Residents were joined by ward councillors and MP Tom Brake to watch diggers bring down the first block.

Executive member for housing Councillor Colin Stears said: “This event is a major landmark for residents and a tribute to their patience and desire to improve housing.

“I’m thrilled we will be able to provide hundreds more homes – many of them affordable – for people in Sutton.”

The first phase will see 110 eco-friendly new homes built in two six-storey buildings.

Pedestrian and cycle routes will encourage residents to use green forms of transport and the riverside walk by the River Wandle, which runs past the community centre, is also being restored.

Estate’s history

The estate has above average antisocial behaviour problems and in 1994 a safer neighbourhood survey found it had the highest child density in the south-east with a child to adult ratio of 45 per cent.

• In summer 2007 athletes Linford Christie and Darren Campbell came to Durand Close for a Street Athletics race for children.

• Over the years repair costs have become increasingly expensive and properties have been difficult to let.

• Durand Close residents have included the Wizard Man of Sutton Conrad Pugsley.

• The first tenants were rehoused in 2004 and 2005 as part of the preparations for the regeneration programme.

• A master plan for the new development was agreed with residents in 2006 and an outline planning application was approved by the council for the whole site in 2007.

• Do you know more? Let us know by email here, phone the newsdesk on 020 8330 9555 or leave a comment below.