And the walls came tumbling down

Those of you who have followed the long saga of the tumbledown wall on the corner of Wickham Rd and Cranfield Rd will, we hope, be gripped by the latest dramatic instalment in the story.

The wall partially collapsed last spring, and has remained derelict since - although after some months of BC's whingeing the council's PFI contractors (who are responsible for the site) put up some white boarding to block the gap.

And there the matter rested for many months.

With spring comes fresh hope, and action. But unfortunately it's not exactly the kind of action we'd hoped for.

Workmen are, as BC types, demolishing the remaining standing sections of wall. We hope and pray that this is a prelude to re-building the entire wall, but frankly given the way things have gone so far, we can't be sure. We have of course asked Lewisham Council what's going on, and will keep you posted if they get back to us.

In the meantime, enjoy the remaining wall while you can.


Edit (10/6/09): Our contact at Lewisham Council has been in touch to say that PFI contractor Equipe is taking the whole wall down in order to re-build it using a mix of existing cleaned bricks and some new ones. Sounds like good news to us!

34 comments:

Headhunter said...

I noticed someone had scrawled "replace this wall" or something to that effect across that nasty white boarding that has been in place for about a year. Seems completely pointless to destroy the remaining sections of original Victorian wall though. The owners of the buildnig have probably realised that original Victorian bricks can go for about a fiver each (I've heard) and whatever they replace them with, they stand to make a profit

fred vest said...

it's like berlin 1989 all over again

Anonymous said...

Taking the wall down and putting up railings is a much better idea. Firstly people can secure their bicycles to railings much easier than they can with walling, secondly Clematis or Sweet Pea can be grown up the rails for a stunning visual display in the summer and thirdly we can all moan about the wall being replaced by rail, how unsympathetic it is to the area it is and how important it is to preserve bricks.

Anonymous said...

The residents of Mungley face yet another crisis - how will they cope?

Tressillian James said...

This of course is important because the PFI are responsible for maintaining the wall and are not doing so. The PFI won the contract for over 20 years partly on the basis that it would protect and uphold the conservation area. There are numerous examples - this wall being one of them - that it is taking the cheapest option and not doing that. I would expect that we are goign to see them erect a standard timber fence. Brockley Society are hoping to tackle this - we can't see the conservation area gradually eroded of walls, orignal doors, roofs and other features over the 20 year lifespan of this contract - or what is the point of having one at all?

Anonymous said...

C-Area residents are at any time 3 sky dishes away from complete and utter chaos.

anon said...

If the whole wall is being taken down then that is a planning issue and should have been flagged up before any work started.

Walls don't seem to have much protection, looking at what to the Wickham Arms' wall.

Anonymous said...

I seem to recall that there is a four year limit on enforcement with regards planning permission (or rather lack thereof) in relation to building operations (which I think include demolitions)... The clock is ticking!

Anonymous said...

This is an outrage. What is the point of a conservation area where no one cares about convervation?

Anonymous said...

Further to my last msg, I know of three Green Councillors who will be notified.

anon said...

I think this work should be stopped pending a planning investigation. Save the Wall.

Anonymous said...

And when the wall is re-erected a second-rate painter should be found immediately to produce a mural.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, really gripped.......

Anonymous said...

I have phoned both local councillors and left msgs. Why is it the Brockley Society takes everything lying down AND PFI contractors are always there to take the money but never their to honour their side of the bargain?

PrinceofDarkness

Anonymous said...

What makes you think the whole wall is being taken down?
And if it is what are you going to say if they replace it with railings (that were originally there in the first place)?
I had heard that there are plans to open a nursery at the site, and it's being done so the children can see out. So altogether not a bad idea.

Brockley Kate said...

I haven't heard anything about that site being used for a nursery, anon - are you sure you're not mixing this up with the Wickham's railings?

Anyway, I've heard back from the council and have updated the post to reflect the new info.

Anonymous said...

this blog cracks me up daily.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Kate methinks you take anon @ 23.31 too seriously.

Anonymous said...

after the edit this has gone from being a non story to whatever is more than 'non'... I demmand updates every day until completion!

anon said...

Thank the lord and thank you Kate for keeping up to date with this.

Headhunter said...

Despite all the snide comments and sarcasm above, thanks for keeping us up to date with this, Ni... I mean Jon... No Kate... ;-)

Seriously though, that wall is pretty prominent and that white boarding made that corner look butt ugly...

Tressillian James said...

Prince of Darkness - Brockley Society is extremely overworked - but has recently noticed that the planning sid eof the conservation area is being overlooked. The Society has managed to drum up new volunteers and there is now a special planning team to deal with these issues. The team could ALWAYS use more volunteers (Currently they are looking for someone to concentrate ono the tree removal apps that are coming thick and fast due to the PFI) - perhaps you could help? Get in touch with them via their website and just show up at the next meeting - the more people there are the more we can get done.

Anonymous said...

The wall has been completely knocked down, I hope that it is replaced to the same height that it was before. So often there is a sting in the tail of the seemingly good news we're given when dealing with councils and contractors.

Brockley Kate said...

Well, I now have the direct contact email address of the Equipe guy who's managing the work, so if people don't like what they see, let me know and I'll get in touch with him.

HH - ;-)

Tressillian James said...

Kate - as you have a dialogue with Equipe, what about a premptive mail asking him if it it's going back at the same height and in the same style?

Headhunter said...

B*llox, my last post has gone so I can't copy and paste, I'll have to re write! What a palaver over a comment...

Just wondering what's going on with "The Wall"... It seems that in the process of repairing a small section of tumbledown wall, the contractors have demolished the entire thing and turned the garden of the house into something resembling no man's land between WW1 trenches. Almost looks like they intend to build a block of flats on the corner rather than just replace a wall. Anyone know anything?

hadrians wall said...

I noticed yesterday they'd laid a concrete foundation for whatever they're going to put on top of it.

A wall must be solidly built and if it takes a little time then all the better, perhaps.

Maybe the builders are just lazy.

Maybe they're trying to wind you up HH

Headhunter said...

Yes, they must have a personal vendetta against me.... I noticed the foundations yesterday. They look immense for a 5 foot something high wall, but then what do I know about construction. It just seems like a huge mess for a small job, but then if it gets done properly that will be good....

idle builder said...

Walls are often made of breezeblocks these days

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

I posted the following update on the wrong thread - sorry Nick - on th 19th June 09.

"As promised the Wickham/Cranfield wall update.

This is one large building site for what was one small hole in the wall.

All the existing wall has been taken down. One metre deep trench fill footings have been excavated and await their concrete fill.

Some tree roots have been damaged but the contractor appears to be doing his best to work around and protect these.

Lastly a couple of pallets full of the old bricks have been cleaned and sorted but they are going to have to bring in a lot more second hand stocks if they are going to build it back up to its original height."

Apart from the concrete foundations, it doesn't sound like much has happened since.

Let hope the contractor is not on a time penalty.

trixie said...

building high walls is apparently highly complex, don't want it to fall down again do we?!....

The footing should be at least 100mm wider on each edge than the thickness of the brickwork. So, for a 225mm thick wall, we will typically pour a 450mm wide footing. For load-bearing walls, the strip footing may be 600mm wide. The footing is typically 150mm thick, though this may be reduces to 100mm for smaller walls on good ground, or increased for heavier walls on bad ground.

The depth of the footing depends on ground conditions. Ideally, the footing should be poured on top of bedrock or solid, firm clay, but this is not always possible, and so, on bad ground, the footing may be made wider and used to distribute the weight over a larger area of sub-grade, a process sometimes known as 'rafting'. In the relatively mild climate of the UK and Ireland, the top of the footing should be at least 150mm below ground level to give 'frost cover', but in areas where the good clay or bedrock is deeper, it can be 1 metre or more below ground level.

Headhunter said...

There were no crates of bricks there yesterday, just a tumbledown pile chucked to one side mixed in with the enormous pile of ripped up earth that is now the garden. Without the bricks nearby it doesn't look like they're in a hurry to rebuild the wall...

Headhunter said...

I bow to your evidently greater knowledge in this, Trixie, although why they had to rip the entire wall down and turn the whole garden into a bombsite simply to repair a small tumbledown section is beyond me, but I guess if a job's worth doing it's worth doing well as the saying goes.

Tressillian James said...

I feel this is typical of the PFI work - I feel sorry for any leaseholder in that building, because they will be receiving their share of the final bill. The PFI have already been 'paid' for the tenants contribution via the PFI agreement with Lewisham COunicl - however the leaseholders will need to pay their share directly (plus a hefty 20% approx management fee). The argument that many Brockley Leaseholders have, is that the PFI complete unecessarily large works so as to raise the bill that the leaseholders need to pay, thus recouping a large part of their outlay. These works seem to be following that path.

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