We’ve been so busy looking at the other side of this grim junction that we’ve been missing something (or at least I have, anyway.) I knew that there was a consultation going on for the the large area of land around Blackwall Lane/Pelton Road/ Commerell St, which has been lying derelict for a couple of years now and which the council flogged off to speculative developer Kitewood Estates, but what I didn’t know was that although they have all sorts of fancy plans for gated developments etc. they want to raze everything to the ground now, despite the fact that they haven’t even applied for planning permission to build anything there yet.
If the example diagonally opposite to it is true then instead of some slightly scruffy, but nevertheless historical buildings, an old playground with trees, wild flowers and birds/bees/butterflies/lovely things we’ll have a great wasteland of concrete nothing for bloomin’ years.
This would be the perfect opportunity for a developer to show a bit of humanity – and create some ‘meanwhile’ uses -I don’t know – let people use the buildings for community-type stuff, encourage the local school to use their old playground for nature lessons, that sort of thing.
A resident who’s as publicity shy as myself has pointed out that the buildings are actually, of historic interest.
Something I didn’t know when I was joshing yesterday about Jack the Ripper’s first victim having been in Blackwall Lane (total tosh, or so I thought at the time when I was giggling with Mary about former uses for the little parklet on Tunnel Avenue ) was that, according to the census report of 1891, Elizabeth Fisher and her family lived at 33, Commerell Street. She was the elder sister of Catherine Eddowes, a victim of Jack the Ripper. Now, while I can’t see the spotty, top-hatted youths who conduct hyper-authentic JTR tours round Spitalfields of an evening making a special detour for this, it’s something to think about.
And, of course, the old school building at 47, Riverside Street (I have a photo somewhere but my archives are like the Minotaur’s Labyrinth and I haven’t got enough string to venture inside) is a lovely thing in itself, allegedly linked to Robert Owen about whom I remember being bored about at school, but when you actually see real stuff about famous historical people it’s then that they become more interesting. Every time we lose a historic building we lose a little bit of our collective soul.
There isn’t anything in Kitewood’s development plans that’s ‘for the community’ – neither opens spaces nor buildings for public use. The gardens will be gated and for residents only. I didn’t think that was allowed, but something’s banging in my head that developers no longer have to deal with Section 106 – am I right?
But of course talking about actual building is looking waaaay ahead. The issue here is that Kitewood Estates want to demolish absolutely everything to scorched earth with no firm plans ahead. I’m not even convinced they have the funds in place to build this, which means that just as we get rid of one ugly, empty space in East Greenwich, it will be replaced by another.
One last thought. If I was an evil developer wanting to maximise profits, without any stake or interest in the community in uncertain times, I would want to clear the site I owned to absolutely nothing, sit on it as a dusty wasteland for as long as I needed to, then sell it off at an inflated prices as a clear site to someone else when times got better. Mwhahahaha…
Good job I’m not, then, isn’t it,and that it’s Kitewood who own the land, not me.
Folks – if you’re uneasy about this, by all means talk about it here, but remember that there is, as is traditional, a very small window in which to officially say something about the plans. You have until next Wednesday, the 6th July, but it’s very, very hard to find where to go. I spent a long time this morning trying to find the relevant link, then discovered that you have to go to the council’s planning page, then type in the case number 11/1382/D1. If you want to make a direct comment, you can go to the application comment form
Of course, where there’s a view there’s always another. Another local resident is all for the plans:
I live at Commerell Street and will be in the midst of the the planned regeneration of SE10. I have met with Kitewood and wholeheartedly support their plans to firstly demolish the existing buildings. I have lived in the street for 6 years and over this time myself and my partner have had endless trouble with squatters, vandalism, drug users…you name it.
We have spent hours contacting the council and the police, have spent our own time and considerable money trying to tidy the area up and the stress and anxiety involved over the years has been immense. I am furious that after years of neglect at long last a developer is prepared to invest money and regenerate the area and in particular my street.
I do not object to Kitewood demolishing the site prior to any development, even if left empty at least this would massively cut down on crime and vandalism – nothing there, nothing to destroy. It is so easy for others to comment on this situation when they have not lived everyday with the issues and situations we have had to deal with.
Certainly no – one has cared so much about the area prior to this, only us it seems. The campaign to save certain buildings is in my mind going to be detrimental to the desperately needed redevelopment and I therefore do not support it.
Firstly, I live near the ‘Jack the Ripper’ related house and the sooner this is demolished the better – it is falling down, affecting other buildings, unsightly and forever attracting crime. It’s historical importance seems to be limited and again why is it suddenly, after years of neglect that important.
The same can be said for the Victorian Old school house; where was the support, community spirit for us all these years, why suddenly is this building deemed to be so important, why was it not campaigned for a long time ago?? I think that a little more knowledge about the situation would be much wiser that immediately condemning the plans by Kitewood, we live here and we need change.
So – one site; two views. And I expect to see many more.
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