Last week the Council contractors finished a week of totally pointless and presumably expensive activity on the Heygate Estate following their already vindictive and pointless attempts to remove the Heygate Community Gardens mural. A team of welders and sealer-uppers closed off the numerous walkways that people use to walk around, enjoy, have fun on, take pics from and leap off of in this as yet still piece of publicly-owned land. We have taken the pictures above from Alice C Macchi’s blog with thanks to her. As someone who enjoys running and leaping from walls on the estate, she points out in her piece that anyone who seeks to gain entry to estate for the wrong reasons will do so:
If you have a reason to be at the Heygate, putting up a barrier won’t deter you. If you have no reason to be there, it is likely that you will not be there anyway. These barriers are totally pointless. If anything they are more dangerous than safe. Usually a way in is also a way out. These barriers now block most exits and in case of danger or need there is no quick escape route. Why has council put these up before the entire estate is closed off is completely beyond me.
So these new barriers to the land are only really about slowly increasing the keeping out all the people who currently want to walk in sun and snow around the place, see the 450 trees and the mostly empty buildings, visit friends and picnic there, tend their vegetables and so on. All of those people who are never ever asked whether they actually want large welded barriers put in their way, the decision being made in some office entirely unaccountably (again).
We wonder at what level in the Council offices this waste of money and time was sanctioned? For all the agreement and head nodding it has done over the last two years with local people who have sought to get them to realise how great the open space and old buildings are for temporary community uses, the Council seems intent on actually thwarting all the amazing things people are doing in the estate for themselves as part of the desire to provide amazing things for all.
What is particularly pathetic is that the welding shut of the walkways comes only a fortnight after the highly successful and fun for local kids Release The Wolves event where they went tearing around the Heygate walkways in mad self-souped up customised Go Karts! And this was sanctioned by the Council in the first place! Not only was the event fun fun fun, the old grey pre-cast concrete slabs of Heygate were given a right going over with colourful paintings! Simple question: Would you prefer the Heygate to walled off for years and to stand as a big grey lump or would you prefer to keep it lively and colourful?
Here‘s a link to the new somewhat bonkers paintwork up in Heygate!
UPDATE: 19th Sept
The Council released a statement today on their website stating that the blocking of the walkways is preparation for the demolition and also because of ‘a range of health and safety issues‘ (of course!). Needless to say no demolition can begin until the final leaseholders have moved off, this whole process subject to the recent CPO served and its legal challenges.