Howe Barracks, Canterbury Kent

Howe Barracks was a former ministry of defence army barracks located in Canterbury until it was closed in 2015. Downwell secured the demolition contract  from Taylor Wimpey who were redeveloping the site into residential housing.

Howe Barracks

Howe Barracks covering around 70 acres, consisted of a mix of building types dating back to the 1930s.

Ecological Considerations

As part of the planning stage, Taylor Wimpey carried out an environmental survey of Howe Barracks, and it revealed bats were roosting in one of the main buildings. Taylor Wimpey appointed a team of ecologists to work closely with us during the demolition phase.

Asbestos Removal

Downwell carried out asbestos surveys through our sister company Inner City Environmental. They appointed a consultant to undertake independent asbestos surveys. On seeing these reports, Taylor Wimpey gave us the approval to select Inner City to remove all asbestos. The investigations revealed a large amount of asbestos in the buildings.

This works began with our strip out teams following on in sequence. 


The Howe Barracks buildings were mainly two storeys and were able to be demolished using standard reach excavators down to slab and foundations following on in sequence from the soft strip and asbestos teams.

Materials crushed to 6f2 on site.

The demolition team worked closely with the appointed ecologists working from MEWP’s to remove roof tiles.

Community Liaison

During the process, Downwell initiated several community activities, these include

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Demolition Insights



Downwell were appointed to carry out the demolition of a Howe Barracks in Canterbury

100 years of demolition experience


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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement - Wednesday 25th March

The Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday evening signalled the introduction of more stringent restrictions on us all and has specifically indicated that members of the public should only leave their home for very limited purposes. The message indicates that we should travel to and from work, only where this is absolutely necessary.

The management of the Downwell Group of companies which includes: Downwell Demolition, Inner City Environmental and Inner City Scaffolding has very carefully considered both the meaning and the spirit of the Prime Minister’s statement and whilst there has been some clarification from government subsequently that building sites could continue to operate, we came to the very clear decision yesterday that it was necessary for us, as a responsible contractor, to safely and securely close down our operational sites as soon as reasonably possible. Doing so will assist in maintaining the wellbeing of our customers, employees, sub-contractors, suppliers and the wider communities within which we build.

All sites have been closed down in a safe and secure manner and will remain closed until further notice.

We would like to take this opportunity of thanking all the key workers on the frontline who are continiung working for the good of us all.