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Apartments in a building once called the ugliest in the country are on sale for up to £800,000 following a surge of gentrification.

In Poplar, Balfron Tower, on the Brownfield Estate, was home to a large number of social tenants, but in the last decade they were moved out to make way for private renters.

The tower was designed by Hungarian architect Ernö Goldfinger in the 1960s.

It’s a striking example of Brutalist architecture, at 26-storeys tall, but for many people, is simply home.

Speaking to MyLondon, Cindy – who has lived in the building for 25 years – explained: “It means home. Security. Because I’d been there 25 years and I had my son in there. It was the only home he’d ever known. He grew up in Balfron Tower playing run-outs, fighting with neighbours.”

In 2010, Cindy was told she would be moved out to allow for a refurbishment.

The decanting of residents was completed in 2015, and it was made obvious that social tenants would not be permitted to return.

Speaking to the artist and campaigner Rab Harling, she said: “I remember crying the day I got the letter to be kicked out of Balfron because it was like ‘Where can I go? What can I do? Will I know my neighbours? Will someone be able to feed my cat when I go out?'”

Poplar HARCA, who manage the property, decided the flats would move from the social to the private sector, justifying this by saying that selling the highly-valued flats would mean they would have to sell fewer socially rented properties overall.

While many who lived in the tower spoke highly of them, the apartments weren’t always so sought after.

Shortly after it was built its Brutalist style went out of fashion and a rise in vandalism and anti-social behaviour was noted.

TV and film embellished these negative tropes, as they did at Trellick Tower in Kensington – which was also designed by Goldfinger and soon got the nickname ‘The Tower of Terror’.

However, Brutalism later gained a cult following and Goldfinger’s buildings came back into fashion.

This was aided by the legend that surrounded him.

It is said that Ian Fleming used his personality and name as inspiration for his famous Bond villain.

The tower soon received grade II listing and, coupled with a wave of gentrification, saw the apartments become highly sought after.

Social tenants were forced out and re-housed, but not without a struggle.

The Balfron Social Club was set up in 2014 to fight to retain 50 per cent social housing after the refurbishment but the culmination of the scheme was 0 per cent. Across the Brownfield Estate the regeneration project saw a net increase of 45 habitable rooms, but an overall loss of 21 social rented houses.

Gavin was homeless when he moved into social housing in the Balfron Tower in 1997. He said: “I was really thankful for the place, I was really happy about the flat.”

After he was moved out in 2012 he said: “I miss the place, you know. I enjoyed the view. I enjoyed the building, made friends and associates.

“Probably upset a few people. I feel a bit cheated, to be honest with you. I think it’s going to end up with bankers from Canary Wharf. I was homeless and got a place. Now it’s just going to the richest of society and the people that haven’t got anything are being made homeless.”

On Saturday, July 23 the luxury one, two, three and four bed apartments went on sale for between £375,000 and £800,000. The building is equipped with countless communal spaces including a roof and private dining terrace, a gym, yoga room and a cinema room.

In response to criticism, a spokesperson for Poplar HARCA said: “95 per cent of Balfron Tower’s former residents stayed living in Tower Hamlets with 81 per cent choosing to stay as Poplar HARCA residents.

One in three families living there were already registered to move due to overcrowding. With 20,000 other households on the housing list, for them, this was an opportunity to move to a more suitable home far sooner than would otherwise have been possible.

“The sale of homes is funding new affordable housing and transformative landscaping on neighbouring estates. There has been an increase in social housing on the Brownfield estate, including more larger family homes. As part of our wider regeneration programme across Poplar we have built over 1,400 affordable homes, with over 700 underway and 100s more in the pipeline.”