Council Says Council Not Vandals

This week’s Inside Housing magazine picked up our ever circulating story of the Southwark Council vandalism of the Heygate Community Garden paintings and murals. Here at the Notes we found it interesting that they managed to get a response from the Council whereas no replies were forthcoming to loads of people who mailed the Council complaining about this willful and spiteful attack on the efforts of local people. Does that mean that it’s easy to ignore local people’s communications but appearing in Inside Housing in a way that makes your actions look really daft to other housing and local government professionals needs some sort of reply? Answers on the usual postcard, please.

Anyhow, this was the Council reply to Inside Housing:

Barrie Hargrove, cabinet member for transport, environment and recycling, said: ‘Like most councils across the UK, it is Southwark Council’s policy to remove all graffiti where it occurs on council land, or with the landowner’s permission, and to continue to maintain regeneration sites before demolition. This will include further graffiti removal across the site. Overall, we’re really keen to get on with the serious business of the regeneration of the Heygate, which is what the majority of local people want to see happen.’

Three quick points on this:

1) It wasn’t just any old graffiti that was badly painted over! It was a targeted attack on all of the murals and paintings specifically around the Community Gardens and pond.

2) Here are some recent photos of the Council’s tip-top job on Heygate of continuing ‘to maintain regeneration sites before demolition’:

The photos below show two of dozens of holes and rubble left by each flat after contractors came to remove the gas connections.

3) We wonder if Barrie Hargreave’s is attempting to smear the works of all the local people active on keeping the Heygate Community Gardens open for all when he describes how the Council wants to get on with ‘the serious business of the regeneration of the Heygate, which is what the majority of local people want to see happen‘. We can assure him that what people are doing on Heygate is an incredibly serious business. Those people are also highly aware and dubious of any attempts by the Council to play off their ‘majority’ against the local people who continue to enjoy the public green spaces within the Heygate.

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