Touching A Nerve.
My mother has lived on the Burwell Estate once known as the Burwell Residential Estate for 40 years and knows her neighbours often only by face and has seen the estate go from nasturtium gardened plots to mattress city. Many of her neighbours raised families there then died. She is gradually being seen as isolated because she is old and alone. Being seen as. She is a wise stoical owl being watched by hawks. Property developers are pushing glossy leaflets through her letter box. She recycles paper religiously.
The homes were built in the 1930s and all look the same.. They all in the main have double-glazed windows and if you concentrate you will see glass everywhere on porch doors. on front doors and everywhere where light can be captured. In the summer the houses give off whiteness as many people whitened their pebble-dash. Asquatum then Harknell moved out and by 1990 the estate was languishing in a past glory. Older people retired to the likes of Chingford and Braintree as the Estae matched the rest of inner London in its colourful multi-culturalness. Flats were built where factories stood and people locked themselves inwards as strangers came, spoke differently and used the spaces on Burwell Road to park their cars rather than their own fiddle with a key purpose-built enclosed private car park. No one fought about anything. People wanted to live peacefully together albeit on top of each other. Roads were blockd off and the direction of the traffic flow was altered. Lorry drivers got confused and stuck on their way to the Burwell Industrial Estate which is a place most residents could not pinpoint on a map.
Christmas time is fabulous on the estate as all families and singletons celebrate it with twinkling lights across windows, gloriously decorated Christmas trees in their 1970 through- lounges and note the silence on the five roads.. When the estate becomes snow-locked people help each other get bread and milk in as the pavements and roads never get treated by the Council. So it’s community life as desired by many.
Here are the signs of s community of residents, hanging onto what was and very aware of the makings of a good neighbourhood as they practise it each day. Children are in abundance and populate the local Sybourn Nursery.
The whole estate did deteriorate in terms of cleanliness and upkeep. Burwell Road on a wet day is miserably grey with one side full of old factories and new manufacturers with all their chicken wire and litter trapped in it. Fortunately the residents can rely on estate agents to glamourise it in their adverts by talking of close to amenities in the form of the old Lea Bridge Road Station about to be opened. The agents will have difficulty selling those same pre-loved houses and three bedroom houses converted to flats when those same jewels are overshadowed by new-build flats and behind them the tower blocks as Pollock proposes.
Leaflets went through doors yesterday morning to invite residents to the exhibition on Monday 19th October all about the plans for e great and enormous change on the corner of Burwell Road and Lea Bridge Road. We now know why no-one cared about Roma Corner, the dumping place for every left-over of human existence, a fox’s jumble sale as dirt was piled high , cot mattresses strewn opposite the charity warehouse which spilled its own contents onto the pavement. No-one bothered to resurface the pavement cluttered with Cable, water and wotnot entry holes and over tarred patchwork.
Burwell Road itself semed abandoned by the Waltham Forest Council. The last time anything good was done to it was in 1985 when the streetlights were heightened to make night walking safer for women except when a bulb went on the corner. We were all reminded of dark black Victorian holes. People were left to make the roads on the estate pretty by washing their doors and fronts and over the years the pride seemed to vanish as more and more skips moved onto precious parking spaces. Builders were changing family homes into so-called studio flats and other desirable residences changing from single family occupancy to many in one space tenancies.
Social housing is desperately needed in east London. The building of the posh flats will create two communities resentful and suspicious of each other. Burwell Eatate will become slummified in the cold shadow of high road non-affordable new apartments next to the station and by the marshes. Property prices will go down and then the estate will become an undesirable place to live and bring up children. The bulldozers will move in and gradually demolish 1930 stock as children and families grow up amd move away. Those like my mother will never realise the pot of gold she worked hard for in her working days , The bricks and mortar will fetch the price of second-hand bricks and not much else.
Car parking will be controlled by residents parking only, a great source of revenue for a council shutting services all over. That will be despite the fact that residents already know how to manage their parking amicably . Spaces are taken up by customers using new business premises whose owners never cared about their encroachment on family life and ease, never incorporated car parking facilities into their new business premises.
Business is business just like the plans for new flats in Burwell Road and environs. It’s that total overlooking of families who have a right to live comfortably in family houses they work for and look forward to relaxing in on retirement.
Burwell Estate will be overshadowed and become the estate at the back.
Leyton people are dismissed over and over again because they have no voice together. Look at the state of Lea Bridge Road up past Bakers Arms with road closures and one-ways to allow for out of town cyclists to enjoy the prioritised Mini-Holland. Look at the state of the pavements around patches away from main junctions. Look at the betting shops and drinkeries all magnets for the poor but all valuable to a council prostituting for business tax revenue.. It’s all business. There is no agenda but profiteering and certainly not a nod to Leyton neighbourhoods which have been established for years long before pubs became Freds and Poundshops became the new Woolworth.
Definitely the flats will rise. As a non-Trappist monk though I will comment and I will be emotional and I will sling my objections to and against the giants.