Can he fix it? Yes, he can ...

Fans of the Wickham Rd wall saga will be thrilled to hear that BC can bring glad tidings. As we all know, the wall comes under the auspices of Lewisham Council's housing PFI consortium. Surveyor Bill Chambers from consortium member Equipe, which is carrying out the works, has kindly answered a few of BC's questions about the project ...

Q. Obviously the initial problem with the wall was that it had partially collapsed; however the work now being undertaken seems to be considerably more significant than a simple re-build (laying foundations, etc). What was the thinking behind this?

A. It is a simple rebuild; the foundations are to ensure that the wall does not subside as before.

Q. What exactly do the current works involve, and how long are they expected to take? Do you have a planned completion date?

A. Normally for a simply rebuild no planning permission is required but for this one we were required to submit plans. This has been done and we now have permission to continue, and work will restart week commencing 27th July 2009. Work will be continuous to completion approximately 4 weeks if there are no unforeseen circumstances.

Q. What care is being taken to ensure the materials used are in keeping with the nature of the conservation area?

A. The conservation area planning officer has approve the materials being used and will be making regular visits to site.

Q. As a result of the works, the garden inside the wall has become bare earth. What condition will this area be left in once the works are complete?

A. The area will be levelled and seeded. The resulting grass will be maintained by Pinnacle grounds maintenance [part of the PFI consortium] provided that no fences are erected by residents.

Q. It has taken more than a year for this re-build to begin; can you explain or comment on why it has taken so long?

A. It was a simple matter of the funding of the project. Once this was in place work was started.

BC is thrilled to hear that the project should be finished by the end of August - the fact that it has taken around 18 months to sort out can clearly be firmly attributed to the vagaries of PFI contracting (on which BC has a fairly clear opinion, or at least this part of BC does ...). But PFI aside, this is good news at last.