Didn’t we do well! Good day out for everyone despite the rain. About 30 people braved the windy cold Spring day and spent some time walking, talking and listening to tenants and leaseholders stories about the Heygate and Aylesbury Estates! Keep an eye out for more collaborations between Aylesbury Tenants First and Southwark Notes Archives Group in the following months!
At Southwark Notes, we have long been watching the situation with the ongoing attempt to regenerate Aylesbury Estate with some kind of eye on the recent scandalous decant programme on the nearby Heygate Estate. Now that the Private Finance Initiative money has been removed from any demolition and rebuild, and now that a single developer is being sought for the whole site, will the standard plan be put into effect: remove council tenants to far and wide and then build way more private houses than social housing on any new regenerated site?
To bring some of the shoddy Heygate history into the Aylesbury site, we will be taking part in a walk on SUNDAY 29th APRIL with our friends from Aylesbury Tenants First that starts in the community gardening projects of Heygate and goes via Walworth to the Aylesbury for a look and learn around the massive site.
PROGRAMME for the day:
1.30: Meet at the Heygate Better Elephant permanent exhibition that can found in the middle of the Cuddington low rise blocks within the estate. We will put up some signs so that you can find your way there from either Heygate St entrance or the Walworth Rd entrance, opp Dragon Castle chinese place. We will be offering tea and some cakes to get us in a sociable mood.
2pm: Better Elephant and Southwark Notes folks will be leading a short tour around both the more or less empty site of Heygate Estate and also the lovingly tended community allotments and growing sites including the new pond and the new chicken coop!! The permanent Better Elephant exhibition is also there to be looked at and admired. We will then walk the backstreets of Walworth via Nursery Row park towards Aylesbury Estate.
3.30: We will rendezvous on Aylesbury at the junction of East St and Thurlow St and pick up anyone who wants to starts the walk from there. Aylesbury Tenants First will lead us on a walk around the Aylesbury site looking at the new builds and the proposed phases of demolition and ‘regeneration’.
4.30: We will find a quiet spot to continue a discussion on what we have seen and heard taking some time for note taking and a chat on what we could organise together on Aylesbury in the coming months. Some suggestions have already been to screen some films relating to regeneration and gentrification in London as well as looking at Oscar Newman’s work on Aylesbury Estate with his concept of ‘defensible space‘. Southwark Notes has been collecting a few films over the last few years and so we have a few to dip into. Your suggestions are also welcome. Send us an email. Other ideas as the Spring comes along is to hold a few local picnics and also some more walks around the area to continue this exploration of how to imagine, envision, plan and put into effect community plans for the Aylesbury and to try to see off any attempt to reduce the number of public housing homes and to look after the interests of both tenants and leaseholders. The scandal of Heygate decant must not be allowed to happen again!
All welcome! See you there!