Garden City (revisited)

I suspect that Peabody have put out a press release of some kind recently as there has been a spate of news articles of this ilk:

Even the BBC is getting in on the story and lauding the proposals for more houses at Thamesmead. Tilfen Land and Trust Thamesmead have been gushing in their enthusiasm about working together with Peabody and there is a hint of extra money being available to plough into Thamesmead. I’m waiting to see what the new prospectus for the area that Peabody have promised looks like as the original plans for the South Thamesmead Regeneration stretched far into the future and suggested plans that went so far as to give the houses with balconies a replacement front door at normal front-door-level, although quite how they’d realise such plans when half the houses are privately owned remained a mystery. When I quizzed the then-representative, Martyn Montgomery, he hand waved a little and said something about potential grants and loans for home-owners.

If nothing else, the article that I’ve linked to does have a very pretty shot of the lake and tower blocks, but it does nothing to expand on what is meant by a “garden city”. Wikipedia lends some idea, suggesting that Thamesmead could become something more like a functioning town, surrounded by greener “garden” areas, despite being in the bounds of London. That is, a place where the local economy is thriving and jobs and workers can exist in close proximity rather than needing to commute long distances for essentials.  It would be nice for the area to be more self-sufficient though I’m no town planner and have no idea how you’d start in creating that. The entertainment that is lacking is something I’ve mentioned elsewhere, along with the idea of a bank but even a dole office would be a start – in an area of deprivation where many are believed to be surviving on benefits, it’s something of a joke to make the residents take public transport to reach the place where they’re supposed to sign on.

The row of shops that was demolished at Tavy Bridge was looking pretty run down by the time it went. The chippy seemed popular and there was some upset at the chemist going, but once upon a time that area contained the police station and a Natwest Bank. For now it’s just rubble. Plans are all well and good, but it’s a shame regeneration cogs move so slowly.

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