Royal Marsden
Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea, LondonGetty

Residents on one of central London's best-known social housing estates have condemned as plans to demolish it and construct luxury flats on the site as "social cleansing". Dozens of residents of the Sutton Estate in

Dozens of residents of the Sutton Estate in Chelsea say that they are facing eviction when the bulk of the estate is pulled down.

The 15-block estate is located near Chelsea's Royal Marsden Hospital. The housing is more than a century old and is owned by the Affinity Sutton Group housing association.

The association says it does not have the money needed to bring the estate's buildings up to modern standards. It now plans to replace the estate with new flats. Around 25% of the flats will be sold to private buyers to pay for the project.

Campaigners against the plan have the active support of comedian and 2020 London Mayor candidate Eddie Izzard, as well as Labour MP Tom Watson. The campaigners claim that the plans will "rip apart" a close community and that many of the new flats will go to foreign buyers who will leave them empty.

Affinity Sutton is likely to submit a planning application in the summer, but some tenants have already received notices asking them to leave by April. The housing association says it will hold consultations.

In an interview with the Evening Standard, Christine Williamson, 61, a carer who has lived on the estate since the '70s, said: "It's appalling. There are a lot of people who have been born and bred here. It was built specifically for the working class of Chelsea but this will get rid of that indigenous population forever when the rents probably double."

The estate houses tenants from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, as well as Affinity Sutton tenants.

Affinity Sutton have confirmed that some of the council tenants will be forced off the estate, although the numbers have not so far been stated.

Affinity Sutton's chief executive, Keith Exford, was paid £291,490 last year.