I recently covered poor conditions across Glyndon Estate in Plumstead. This time it’s the turn of Barnfield estate a short distance away. Once again there’s examples of a lack of routine maintenance of assets. Broken brickwork and street furniture is seen in a number of areas.
What makes the condition of this estate eye-opening is that Greenwich Council were patting themselves on the back for refurbishing this estate just a year ago. £12 million was spent, and very welcome it was too with some external areas improved but too many parts weren’t touched.
The photos featured in this post were taken by a local resident who has just created his own site, which can be seen here. He raises the good point of why council staff aren’t raising these issues when carrying out routine work – are departments communicating? And why is the Housing Department not auditing assets on a regular basis?
The capability to do basic and routine repairs seems entirely absent. Why hasn’t the Housing Scrutiny Panel picked this up? These issues exist at many estates.
As covered in the last post, Greenwich borough had the fifth highest level of housebuilding out of 33 London authorities last year. This brought in £13.5 million from central government through the New Homes Bonus.
A similar amount comes in from developers through Section 106 agreements, which are mostly now being replaced by Community Infrastructure Levy payments. That’s at least £27 million in one year – less than 1% of that would greatly improve this type of area.
We can also add £3.5 million from TfL given in the financial year, of which up to £2.6 million has scope to cover areas on estates. Islington Council use funds to improve public realm in estates, to give one example:
Leaving external areas to rot encourages problems such as fly-tipping. This costs all locals money that could be better spent elsewhere. It’s also an invitation to litigation and compensation claims as many areas are not safe.
Systemic failure to maintain public areas also discourages walking and cycling when areas are this badly neglected.
The estate is in Woolwich Common Ward. The three Councillors are David Gardner (Labour), Ambreen Hisbani (Labour) and Harpinder Singh (Labour). Regular meetings with other Labour party members have occurred on the estate. Have any ever asked the Housing Department, led by Averil Lekau (Labour – Thamesmead Moorings), why this neglect is happening, and then again when nothing changes?