It has been a long time since I have written anything here. There has been a lot going on both in my life and in the neighbourhood. It is time to update you.
We have had two South Thamesmead Forum meetings and I have lost count of the Regeneration Roadshows.
South Thamesmead Forum 10 December 2015
It began with a walkabout through Hinksey Path . We highlighted the problems of bad lighting, fly tipping and lack of maintenance but these issues have been superseded by the latest regeneration proposals.
Once at the Emmanuel Church the meeting started with an update about the Park View Hub because it had been noticed that most of the units are still empty. Peabody Regeneration are occupying some units so if you have any issues or questions to raise they are available during normal office hours. Taris (the convenience store currently on Limestone Walk) are fitting out their units, Brownes Chemist are ready but there is a problem with NHS England regarding the dispensing of prescriptions and the African shop will be moving in soon. For the vacant units Peabody want to find a community use, perhaps a Citizens Advice or some sort of one stop shop for advice.
There were local issues about street lighting, housing and recycle bins discussed and these have been fed back to Bexley Council.
Some good news about the crossing on Yarnton Way – the work started on 8 February and should be finished soon. A success for the forum.
The meeting closed on a somber note when Alex Forester (from Trust Thamesmead) who has been responsible for the forums, the Community Voice and Environmental projects around Thamesmead, announced that he was leaving the next week. As yet he has not been replaced.
South Thamesmead Forum 17 March 2016
The date of the meeting had been changed from 11 February and that may account for the low attendance. It may also be due to the regeneration and the abundance of roadshows held recently.
Following Alex’s departure the responsibility for the Forums has passed to Peabody, hence the change of date. It may also mean that some people were missed when the invitations went out.
It is to be expected that we spent quite awhile talking about regeneration and Paul Fowler took time to answer our questions and concerns.
Peabody have taken the decision to consult on the demolition of the Hinksey Path and Wolvercote Road area because there is an opportunity to keep the community together by moving residents to Southmere Village (Tavy Bridge/Binsey Walk area).
They stress at the moment it is only a proposal and if enough object during the consultation it will not go ahead. Approximately a third of the homes are owned by free/lease holders and about a half of those are private lets. Peabody are trying to find out about individual circumstances and requirements so that they can be rehoused if demolition is approved. At this point I will say that I know someone who has recently been rehomed from Evenlode House. She was opposed to the demolition and wanted to see out her life in her flat. During the process Peabody listened and went to great lengths to find a home that matched their needs. My friend now says she wishes she had moved years ago. I hope this is some reassurance to some but uncertainty is never easy.
To help the process there are to be Independant Resident Advisors to be an impartial contact who will be able to deal with all matters, including legal advice. If required they will organise a public meeting. Peabody have also said the consultation period can be extended if necessary.
Outside of the area pending demolition the rest of South Thamesmead will not be neglected. There will be no more homes demolished so the rest of the concrete stock will be retained. This is a question I have asked and had answered on more than one occasion and am now satisfied enough to put it in print. However, the wall along Yarnton Way will come down and possibly other redundant walkways and staircases.
Residents in the towers along Kale Road will be pleased to know that the blocks will be refurbished and there will be new security, heating and windows.
There are plans for the outdoor areas, there is a suggestion below but ideas are needed
In the near future a ‘frequently asked questions’ letter will be sent to residents aiming to draw together questions asked at the road shows and give answers.
There is also a website https://www.thamesmeadnow.org.uk/ that gives details about the proposals.
The forum isn’t entirely focused on regeneration but as it is an important topic at the moment we did spend a good deal of the meeting talking about it. If you are interested in attending the next meeting at the Emmanuel Baptist Church, Yarnton Way on the 12 May 2016 we start at 6.30pm and will be pleased to see you