Monday, 26 December 2016

No Christmas cheer at Wornington Green

This is the dream residents were promised.
They will be young, thin, and laughing as they move.
Yes I was a bit late delivering Christmas cards to local members on Christmas Eve. I'd had a cold, but I did get them out before the day. So I raced round the easy bits, Ladbroke Grove, St Lawrence Terrace, Portobello Road etc without too much trouble. But Wornington Green was somewhat problematic.  

I have visited quite a few old and vulnerable people there who are being unwillingly decanted to somewhere they don’t wish to live. The anxiety and insecurity takes a terrible toll on their health, and I've just heard that yet another old dear has succumbed to illness before experiencing her 'lovely new home'. I am heartbroken for her family, who have been a bedrock of the community for decades.

It’s been a while since I walked around the whole estate.

I was shocked. The estate is filthy. Security doors are broken. Entryphones are out of order. Lifts aren’t working, and the stairs are full of rubbish and steeped in urine. No wonder that crime and anti-social behaviour are on the rise; Catalyst Housing just don't care.

It reminds me of the old days. So before I head out again next week with my proper camera to record the filth they expect people to live in, while they wait for the 'glorious new era' they have been promised, here’s a reminder of what they’ve had to put up with over the past six years:

2010, a view from Thompson House, rubbish thrown out of windows as paladins were hardly ever emptied. Disgusting, and it attracted rats and other vermin.

Unbelievably, an entire bird's nest was constructed, and eggs laid, in a staircase that should have been swept daily. Residents called in Environmental Health, who had to get in a specialist team to deal with it as the eggs had hatched when they arrived. Health hazard.

Just one of many instances of truly appalling black mould, in a child's bedroom in one of the 'old' blocks (just 40 years old). The damp came through because the gutters had NEVER been cleared. NEVER. This was in Pepler House, a building that was commissioned to last for 200 years but they never bothered with cyclical maintenance.

A small sample of the residents' protests as the dark shadow of the planning application drew near, in March 2010. This family lived in a perfectly lovely 1970s house, beautifully designed and compact, neat back garden overlooking the now demolished park. They loved it.

To add to the campaign of endless (subtle) harassment of residents, one day Catalyst Housing Group decided to change the locks on the Residents' Room. This was their oh so diplomatic way of disbanding the Residents' Association, who had been supporting the campaign against development of the estate.

This is the reality residents faced.

Catalyst Housing's actions grew less 'diplomatic' as they came to the point of sending eviction notices to families, some of whom had no idea where they would be sent. This three-generation family were distraught.

To counteract some of the bad press Catalyst Housing were attracting, they very publicly wrote the infamous SIX PLEDGES. Click to read.

None have been honoured. 

Here is the Catalyst Housing director of the time, Manpreet Dillon (now at Notting Hill Housing Group). See how he smiles as he signs the pledges. He even went on BBC tv to make his point that the development would tackle overcrowding. It hasn't. They are still moving families out of the borough.

Despite all the pledges made, the new homes have been constructed with frankly appalling construction quality. I could do better than this with my toy saw and glue gun.

Windows have been fitted poorly. 
This is one of the worst examples,
in the show home!

This is the craftmanship behind
the new traders' lock-ups.
 They leak. Little wonder. 
Oh no, the new buildings
now have damp,
just like the 'old' ones. 

And more than one ceiling collapsed. Oops.

So the accommodation at Wornington Green has turned full circle, in just three years, with leaks and damp. Catalyst Housing are treating residents with utter contempt. 

You can be sure that I will be onto this in 2017. 

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