DOZENS of homes have now been torn down as demolition work on Basildon’s Craylands estate gets into full swing.

Homes in Norwich Walk and Exeter Close were knocked down as Swan Housing Association continues with phase 1c to 1f of the £220million development.

It will see 161 homes demolished to make way for 206 new ones by March 2015.

The framework for new shops and a community hall has been installed and construction work on the flats above is expected to start later this month.

A spokeswoman from Swan Housing Association said: “Demolition work remaining in this phase include the existing commercial units, which have flats above, and the former consultation shop.

“These will be demolished in mid-February, if the weather allows.”

The project, which is being carried out in partnership with Basildon Council and the Homes and Communities Agency, has four stages and will take 12 years to complete, providing 1,300 new homes.

Phil Turner, deputy leader of Basildon Council, hopes to speed up the process by having the council take on some of the building work after plans to set up its own housing development company were approved last week.

He also hopes to redevelop some of the 340 existing homes which which will not be demolished.

Mr Turner said: “Residents can see things are happening which is good, because it has been a long time coming.

“This is the first phase and people living in other areas of the estate want to know when it’s their turn.

“The problem is, this runs up to the end of the decade, so if you’re not up for development until 2017 that can feel almost like it’s never going to happen.

“But we are interested in setting up a company to do our own housing building and we will look at picking off areas of the estate where we can make a contribution to speed things up.

“We have £2.5million in the pot and any money we make will be ploughed back into the community.

“There is such a good sense of community down there it’s just a shame the housing has let them down, but we are putting that right.”

The consultation shop, which has been moved is now to be found at 85 Lincoln Road, Craylands, Basildon.