Wonderwall

This wall is on the corner of Wickham Rd and Cranfield Rd (opposite St Peters Church). It's been in this state of disrepair for some weeks now.




BC was concerned that not only is this an eyesore, it could also be dangerous as the remaining sections look structurally unstable. We used the council's LoveLewisham service to report it, but no action was forthcoming. So we emailed our local councillor and moaned about it on the internet. So far, so predictable.

But this is where the story gets (slightly) more interesting. For Lewisham Council head of environmental services Nigel Tyrell read the blog post and accompanying comments thread, and emailed BC. He said the council was keen to improve the way it responded to residents who use LoveLewisham, and that council staff have increasingly been using the service to report fly-tipping, graffiti and other problems they spot while out and about; this has resulted in a noticeable drop in the number of reports by residents. He also promised to look into BC's concerns about the wall.

A period of radio silence ensued, while the council cogs turned, and then last week came another email from Mr Tyrell. There had been some scratching of heads to work out which part of the council, or its sub-contractors, was responsible for the wall, and the buck had finally stopped with Pinnacle, which runs the council's housing PFI contract. The wall stands on council property, but the house and its grounds have become the responsibility of the PFI contractor. Pinnacle has now been informed of the problem and intends to re-build the wall; the council is keeping an eye on it to ensure that this happens, Mr Tyrell added.

BC's aware that this is a small tale, hardly on a par with our usual vibrant fare, but we thought it was important to give the council credit where it's due. We've never lived in a local authority area where a senior council figure takes the time to get in touch personally to explain what action the council has taken on a particular issue. Come to that, we've never lived in a local authority area where a service like LoveLewisham has been available.

As for the wall, little has changed as yet - the only concession to BC's complaint is the appearance of some fencing panels (visible in one of the pictures above) at quite a distance from the wall and with a large gap in the middle. We're not sure what effect these are intended to have, but we hope that Pinnacle must have some idea what it's doing.

BC will of course bring readers further updates on this vital issue as and when anything happens.

29 comments:

A said...

It looks like a rather under-used piece of land anyway. Let's invade, do some guerrilla gardening, shore up the remaining wall and grow some veg there.

Anonymous said...

Well done Kate that wall is a real eyesore it makes the place look like a mini war zone.

Bea said...

Kate – thanks for following this up with the council. There is a further section of the same wall (lower down on Cranfield Road) that has been in a state of ruin for over a year now. However, when someone recently dumped an old toilet on the pile of rubble the whole area was cleared up – but still no new wall and what’s left leans out dangerously.

I walk past there with my toddler on a regular basis and it always gives me the heeby-jeebies on a windy day. Hope it doesn’t take squashed kid and national headlines to get it rebuilt.

By the way – those panels inside the garden were put up by the residents one weekend when they were having a barbeque / party. It’s amazing what one sees when half the wall is missing!

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember a story in the news about a toddler being killed by a collapsing wall. A search on the BBC news site for 'wall collapse death' brings up several incidents over the years.

We should not have to campaign about this sort of thing. Enough council people work around here to spot these sort of hazards.

Tressilliana said...

A woman was killed in Brockley a few years ago by a falling wall very near the Brockley Jack. Not a good idea for the council to dilly dally over this kind of thing but they do, in my experience. The cemetery wall on Brockley Road was in a very dodgy state for months before it was finally repaired. They also delayed taking action over a tree which was badly damaged in high winds near our house and which eventually fell onto the road. By a miracle no one was underneath at the time and there were no cars parked there either. They won't always be lucky.

Headhunter said...

The new fencing may be to subdivide the garden so that each flat in the main building has a section, I think that is fairly common in the large conservation area gardens.

Good on the council for actually responding but it's no wonder no one bothers reporting things on their website - they never, ever reply or acknowledge anything!

APP&P Troll said...

Glendale are equally bad. Typical contractors...

Anonymous said...

what a calamity, a wall falling over!

my goodness...

Monkeyboy said...

well depends on whether it fall ON someone?

Whoever owns the wall has a duty of care to ensure it kept in a good state of repair and doesn't endanger anyone. Not unreasonable surely?

max said...

Hey Monkeyboy, you may want to check the 3d piece that I did yesterday.
When I have some time I'll add a hard hat and engineering gear.

Anonymous said...

What if the wall is actually art. Should it be rebuilt then? Is it still an eyesore? - discuss.

Monkeyboy said...

Yes please, he appears to be bollock naked. The Magistrate said he would send me down if I didn't start wearing clothes.

Monkeyboy said...

It may well make the Turner Prize short list. The juxtaposition of the crumbling structure set against a backdrop of lush new growth is symbolic of death, renewal and the transient nature of our own existence.

...or it could just be a crap wall?

max said...

Spray that one Bansky!

Anonymous said...

I spotted a tramp sleeping in the doorway of the restaurant near to Idi Amin's Pharmacy today - was it Tracy Emin?

Anonymous said...

news about the westside cafe anyone?
anyone?
anyone?
Bueller?

APP&P Troll said...

No news I'm afraid. The last time I spoke to the landlord of the premise they mentioned that the lease was due to be signed in May.

I guess the leasee is still going through it with the solicitors.

I may give them a ring at some point.

Bea said...

Well when it had the toilet artistically arranged on the pile of rubble it may have been worthy of a place in the Tate Modern – or is that passé as it’s all been done before?

Tressillian James said...

If it was a spraypainted stencil of a toilet then we would be talking Christies....

Anonymous said...

Which oik spray-painted the side of the house on St John's Vale?

Headhunter said...

Anon - the spray on the side of the house on St John's Vale has been there for months now... The residents obviously don't care. Or perhaps they did it themselves?

Anonymous said...

Answer the question.

Headhunter said...

If I knew the answer I would tell you

Anonymous said...

I spotted this the other day. Felt like writing a strongly worded letter...

The Oracle said...

CARELESS TALK COSTS...

Many may be pleased to learn that (although) the majority of the apartments attached to this building are in private ownership, thanks to complaints by persons on this site, the entire bill for the rebuild of this (entire) wall will be picked up... by the Lewisham ratepayer.

Good work. Keep it up.

fabhat said...

The oracle - surely if Lewisham is the freeholder for the site they have a duty to fix the wall, whether it is for council tenants or private owners? The private owners will surely be paying a service charge - which I imagine some of this cost of the repairs will be recouped from.

The Oracle said...

Fab. Alas, not in this case. The leasholders didn't see the need to renew the whole wall - which the council did. They will pay not a jot.

This displays that there is a need to approach some issues with caution as I suspect there is always someone in the ocuncil ready to stiff the general public.

How much has this total (uneeded) rebuild cost?

The Oracle said...

Sorry, that should read 'council'.

Anonymous said...

A DUTY TO 'FIX THE WALL'?

I don;t think you get it. They have taken it literally and fixed ? the WHOLE freaking wall! Did it need it?

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