Demolition work began on Lynn’s Hillington Square yesterday with flats being torn down in a £30 million scheme to transform the estate.
An excavator with an eight-ton arm started taking down nine flats which form part of Valentine House in a bid to open up the square.
Michael Saunders, construction manager at Lovell which is carrying out the work, said: “This is one of the biggest visual impact changes we will see. It will open the square up.”
Mr Saunders explained that the excavator would be working on the building for about three days with the rest of the work being done by hand so as not to disturb the remaining residents of Valentine House.
All of the flats are currently linked by overhead walkways which will be taken down to make each block independent. Door entry systems which will be operated by a key fob will be installed in another attempt to improve security.
Ruth Gammon, who has lived on Hillington Square for 14 years, said: “I think it’s a positive change. It will be a safer environment, and hopefully cleaner. The overhead walkways are going which will be safer and more open.”
Tony Hall, chief executive of Freebridge Community Housing, said: “This has been years and years in the planning.
“To see it coming down now is absolutely fantastic. It’s a really important day today. This building of flats coming down really opens up the estate.
“It’s a key feature to reconnect the estate to the town centre.”
Work began on redeveloping Hillington Square in September and has been focussed on refurbishing the flats up until now. Greyfriars House and Millfleet House are set to be completed in August, ready for residents to move back in.
They will have new bathrooms, kitchens and heating systems and windows facing onto the Millfleet will be triple-glazed.
The redevelopment, which is being undertaken in consultation with designer Wayne Hemingway, will be completed in five phases over four years.