The £136m regeneration of the Green Man Lane estate in Ealing took a significant step forward yesterday, when demolition work started on the old buildings.

Members of the Residents Steering Group have been invited to an event to mark the beginning of the first phase of the regeneration process.

The project aims to ease over-crowding in the estate, improve the layout to deal with traffic problems, and replace crumbling buildings with improved housing.

Chair of the Green Man Lane Residents Association, Anne Fabing, said the event would mark a real milestone for the estate and would dispel doubts that the project would not go ahead.

"A lot of people didn’t believe it was happening and people were very negative about it," she said.

"At last they can see something is really happening."

Tom Rigby, Development Director at Rydon, the developer of the estate, said it represented tangible proof of the project after years of planning and getting permission.

He said: "It is the first real practical evidence of the hard work that has been put in over the past two years."

Mr Rigby and David Price, Regeneration Director at A2Dominion, the housing partner on the project, both said the attendance of residents at the beginning of demolition work was symbolic of the involvement residents had had throughout the process.

Mr Price said: "You cannot do this sort of re-development without the residents and they have been involved all along.

"You have to take the community with you.

"It is important to make sure the residents get the kind of regeneration they deserve," said Mr Rigby.

"The whole re-development is for the residents and it is essential that they are there."

Ms. Fabing said the involvement of residents in the whole process, including selecting the developer, being involved in design and layouts, had brought the community closer together.

"It has brought the community back together," she said.

"This was a place where nobody knew each other and now everybody knows one another.

"It is a new future for the estate."