I wrote about my disgust about Staffa Road. I talked to some residents of Overton Road who have lived in what was the Burwell Residential Estate for years and years. All said that if they put so much as a sweet wrapper out their front they’d be prosecuted. The recklessly abandoned white goods are an eyesore and those long-term residents feel powerless to improve their neighbourhoods.
We cannot give up caring about our neighbourhoods. Our children grow up in them. One lady I know nagged and nagged her council until she got the huge mammoth bins moved from the Peabody Estate Buildings front doors. Imagine you’re a child coming home from bright primary school to see on your doorstep pee-ed on overflowing bins of plastic wrapped faeces and tins. Not all London Councils have imposed recycling sorting. The child would think that’s normal. It isn’t normal in England.
That same active woman, only thirty years young, got the prostitutes moved on too. They’d have sex in the communal hallway amidst the waft of curried goat and Febreze coming out of family homes. Not on. I salute that community right-minded resident.
The Mill in Coppermill Lane E17 was busy yesterday with the front door continually opening with cyclists popping in, artists submitting their work for the forthcoming “Soft” exhibition, grandmothers and younger women arriving to knit, and Polish speaking babies going out in strollers having banged away on crèche drums. The Mill moves its neighbourhood down in St James Lane and by Blackhorse Road (W12 and W15 buses).
A few months ago, it decided to move in on Lea Bridge Road Library and agitate the surrounding neighbours into community mindedness. Good luck there. It’s difficult to feel a community in that part of Leyton because it is such a place where nothing except the poverty and dirt stay the same. Comings and goings. Who knew the library there only opened three out of five days in the week? What else besides the library is there to feed the soul down that part of Lea Bridge Road ? The population is poor. Businesses fall after a week of optimism. There is a pub, not much interest to the Moslem mums and dads: The Bingo Hall just gave up. The lights on the Mosque in the winter months are lovely. A bit more westwards there’s The WaterWorks Nature Reserve if you’ve time on your hands to walk forever and have the energy to lift yourself from the lethargy of being unemployed. Dismal.
If Lea Bridge people wanted that library to be a hub they could have got it done. The past movers and shakers of E107PH watched their kids get settled, saw the neighbourhood change colour, and moved away or inwards. B&Q became the choice of venue for families during Bank Holidays. Banks and post offices closed and men sniffed out Paddy Power and his brothers. Restricted hours were imposed on the library and no-one blinked.
I once worked with a woman who moved into an area “to show the local people how to live properly”. Imagine!